Additional Information: A stunning beaded Tunic from the Yoruba people. Lining is cotton fabric. Condition is near perfect---no loose or missing beads. only stains These beaded tunics were made to be worn only by the chiefs and the Shango priests. This is a huge garment, extraordinarily heavy, heavily beaded with thousands of tiny multicolor glass beads with as design patterns human faces, serpents, birds, goat, diamond and triangular and geometric motifs.
Such tunics were worn by Shango priests during festivals, and at possession ceremonies. They are also known as diviner's vests.
Divination (Ifa) plays and important role in the lives of the Yoruba determine their actions or explaining misfortunes. Colors and designs on this tunic play significant symbolic roles among the Yoruba people of Nigeria. Yellow and green beads are associated with Ifa, black and white beads with Eshu, red (orange here) and white beads are associated with Orisha Shango. The blue is associated to the royalties. The significance of human and animal, and geometric motifs on this tunic is to be found in the mythology and Yoruba believes (see Daniel Mato & Chelsea Cooksey. Yoruba: An Art of Life, p.27, fig. 10)
I have examined this figure and agree with the description.
Niangi Batulukisi, PhD.