Divination Tapper (iroke ifa)

Material Information

Divination Tapper (iroke ifa)
Yoruba People , 20th Century
McGalliard, Rod
Physical Description:
Beads, ivory, fabric, leather, 8 7/8 x 1 1/4 x 1 3/4 in. (22.5 x 3.2 x 4.4 cm)


Subjects / Keywords:
Exhibition -- Between the Beads: Reading African Beadwork
Spatial Coverage:
Africa -- Nigeria


Divination tappers, or iroke ifa, are used by Ifa priests during divination. The pointed end is tapped against the divination tray to greet Orunmila, the god of fate, also known as Ifa. Generally, iroke ifa are made of wood, but this exceptionally opulent example has been carved of ivory and adorned with elaborate beadwork on the handle and the sheath. Beadwork is the prerogative of royalty but is also extended to priests and diviners. The sheath bears images of a chameleon – a primordial creature known for its wise, cautious behavior – and the face is that of a deity who guides the divination process.

Record Information

Source Institution:
Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art
Holding Location:
Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
1995.28.22 ( Accession )


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