Collection Icons: Yoruba divination bowl

Divination bowl, Early 20th century. Nigeria, Osogbo, Yoruba people. Wood. Museum purchase, Phyllis Wattis Fund. 1984.5

This Divination bowl is used among the Yoruba, for whom the most popular form of divination is called Ifa. This bowl, carved from a single piece of wood, likely belonged to an Ifa priest and would have contained sixteen sacred palm nuts symbolizing the supernatural knowledge the priest could draw upon during the act of divination.