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Divination bowl, Nigeria, 1880-1920

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Divination, interpreting signs and symbols, is used to try and determine the cause of disease or its treatment. Carved from wood, this divination bowl, known as an adjella-ifa by the Yoruba people of south-west Nigeria, is used to store palm nuts used by diviners. Ifa is also the Yoruba god of divination and is believed to have taught humans healing. Eshu, the Yoruba god of trickery and surprise, is surrounded by a group of women and a hen. Eshu represents the uncertainty of divination and also brings trouble that could come in the form of illness.

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    Glossary: divination bowl

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    Glossary: divination

    The practice of seeking knowledge of the future through the interpretation of omens or other supernatural means.