Tray (Opon Ifa)

A work made of wood and pigment.

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  • A work made of wood and pigment.

Date:

Mid–20th century, probably 1930s

Artist:

Areogun (c. 1880-1954)
Osi-Ilorin, Yoruba
Nigeria
Coastal West Africa

About this artwork

This diviner’s tray is encircled with images related to the arts of communion and healing. At the top of the tray is the large face of Esu, the divine messenger and mediator between the spirit and human realms. On either side of Esu’s face are kneeling mothers making offerings in small bowls. Below one woman is a priest holding a staff indicating his affiliation with Osanyin, the deity of herbal medicine. Below the other is a soldier holding a crossbow and clenching an arrow in his mouth, suggesting violent change. A band of cowrie shells forms a border for the imagery, recalling the shells that would have been cast onto the tray during divination.

On View

Arts of Africa, Gallery 137

Artists

Areogun of Osi-Ilorin , Yoruba (Culture)

Title

Tray (Opon Ifa)

Places

Nigeria (Object made in), Africa (Object made in)

Date

1930-1939

Medium

Wood and pigment

Dimensions

5 × 45 cm (2 × 17 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Laura T. Magnuson Endowment

Reference Number

1999.289

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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