Ifa divination tapper (iro Ifa)

Yoruba peoples
late 19th–early 20th century
more object details

General Description

A diviner (babalawo) used this tapper (iroke Ifa) with the divination tray (opon Ifa; 2005.84) to facilitate communication with Orunmila, a deity through whom the Creator God speaks. The divination ritual begins with tapping the tray with the figurated ivory tapper to call deities and ancestral diviners to attend the ritual. This one depicts a scarified woman with a fixed gaze who kneels in supplication and devotion. Iro Ifa were usually carved from wood or expensive ivory tusks, which were reserved for Yoruba kings and successful Ifa diviners.

Adapted from

Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, Arts of Africa, 2015.