Lot: 251

85th Tribal Art Auction

Oracle bowl "agere ifa", around 1900

Nigeria, Benin/Dahomey, Porto Novo

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
H: 13.4 inch 400 EUR
plus 21 % commission, VAT, transport and insurance

wood, red and black paint, kaolin, male/female couple, warrior with gun and leopard as caryatid figures, flat round bowl with lid and crowning bird sculpture, slightly dam., missing parts (leopard head, bowl rim), cracks, abrasion of paint; divination bowls serve for keeping the 16 holy nuts ("ikin"), which are used for the questioning of the oracle. During the prophecy, the "babalawo" (priest) spreads the "opon ifa" with flour, throws the palm nuts on the board and generates the oracle from the lines drawn on the plate.