Yoruba Diviners Sash

Contributed by Claire Timms

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My parents are from the Yoruba region of Nigeria and according to oral tradition my surname was originally 'Ifashola' which meant that we as a family were apparently 'Ifa Diviners', people who could help foretell the future (seems that the fascination for spirituality has been passed down!)
My object is a hand beaded Yoruba Diviners Sash. It is embellished with raised beadwork of what seem to be alligators or lizards and what appears to be sets of twins known as 'Ibeji'. It's the kind of thing that would have been worn around the neck of a diviner. Beads were seen as status symbols and signs of wealth hence why Oba's (Yoruba Chiefs/Kings) would wear huge beaded robes as a way of proclaiming their status.

I like it not only because it connects me to the past but also because the craftsmanship is so fine. It would have taken someone hours even days just to do one panel. I love the vibrant colours and the movement within the piece. It connects me to the rich traditions of my forebears and reminds me of their spirituality.

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