Teaching Ideas

Encouraging Dialogue

For Students K-12

  • Examine and consider the materials, colors, and patterns on the House of the Head. What do they suggest about the owner and purpose of the object?

  • The Yoruba people place great importance on the head, viewing it as crucial to one's destiny. Why is your head important in your life? Consider the sayings “to lose one’s head” and “to be head and shoulders above”. What do these sayings mean and what do they suggest about the significance of one’s head?

  • A Yoruba person aspires to live a full life and to join one's ancestors after dying naturally in old age. What practices and beliefs do we follow that insure that we lead long, fulfilling lives?

Making Connections

For Students K-12

  • Research the concept of destiny in another culture and the practices undertaken to ensure a positive future. If you need help getting started, consider the Fates, Karma, or wishing wells.

  • Consider the meaning of the ibori and the ile ori, and their relationship to each other. One protects and shelters the other. Their shapes, patterns, and materials are similar. Create a work of art that has two integral parts made from the same materials. One part should be smaller and sheltered or protected by the second part. After completing the work, write a description of your artwork. Share your work and its meaning with others in your class.

  • Research another culture that honors or condemns a specific part of the body. If you need help getting started, consider the head and feet in Thailand, the left hand in India, and the heart in ancient Egypt.

  • The ile ori is covered with materials that were very expensive because they came from faraway lands. The shells were once even used as money, before metal coins and paper money were used. What does that tell us about the ile ori?