Ivory, 8" high
Divination Objects were used to communicate with gods, spirits and ancestors to understand or influence one's fate. Divination (Ifa) is practiced to explain misfortunes and help to prevent them. The diviner, in consulting a diety, manipulates sixteen palm nuts, reads the patterns they form and marks the results on a divination board sprinkled with wood dust. The marks indicate verses that should be chanted as prayers. The bowls are used to hold kola nuts as offerings of hospitality or as receptacles for sixteen the sacred palm nuts used in divination. The tappers were tapped to summon and greet the spirits. The quality of the pieces enhanced the diviner's status and inspired confidence in their skill.
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