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Yoruba Opon Igede Kneeling Female with Bowl Nigeria African Art

Product #: 96803
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Title Yoruba Opon Igede Kneeling Female with Bowl Nigeria African Art
Type of Object Figural Ritual Vessel for Divination
Country of Origin Nigeria
People Yoruba
Materials Wood, Pigment,
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions 12 inches H. x 4.25 inches W. x 6.5 inches D.
Overall Condition Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair worn patina, scrapes, scuffs, small holes and cracks; see pictures for details.

Additional Information:  A wonderful kneeling female figure holding a bowl or vessel.  This is a Yoruba piece known as Opon Igede and used in for the divination.

Within the Yoruba pantheon of deities known as orishas,  the deity known as Ifa is the deity of divination solves problems, provides comfort, and explains the ways of the gods.  Individuals take direction and consolation from the Ifa diviner – the Babalawo (“the father of secrets”) whom they have consulted to resolve a particular problem or simply provide a psychological ‘tune-up’!  When not being used the Ifa priest keeps the ritually important divination equipment in the  bowl also called by the Yoruba ‘opon igede’.  This wonderfully carved opon igede is covered with ritual white, blue,  and red pigment . Among the Yoruba the color white, known as funfun represents positive principals and protects against witches and malevolent forces.  When in groups of three a number of the colored forms resemble Yoruba facial markings. 

This particularly well preserved and finely sculpted opon igede is a classic example of Yoruba carving with traditional symbolic imagery   

 Recommended Reading: 

Walker, R.A.,  Olowe of Ise, 1998.

R. F. Thompson: Black Gods and Kings: Yoruba Art at UCLA, (Los Angeles, 1971)

W. Fagg and J. Pemberton III: Yoruba Sculpture of West Africa, (New York, 1982)

 H. J. Drewal and J. Pemberton III, with R. Abiodun Yoruba: Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought, (New York, 1989)