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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Art and Divination among the Yoruba: Design and Myth
Author:Drewal, Henry J.
Periodical:Africana Journal
Geographic term:Nigeria
Architecture and the Arts
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Abstract:Among the Yoruba, the composition of Ifa divination art forms articulates a cosmos of competing autonomous forces, and the morphology of those forms, like their iconography, documents myth. The importance of myths as they explain morphology and iconography matches the preference for seriate composition. The significance for the Yoruba of seriate composition and mythic allusions in art can be appreciated if one understands that the autonomous segments of art and ritual evoke, and often invoke and activate, diverse forces. In both representational and nonrepresentational compositions the serial form itself mirrors a world order of structurally equal yet autonomous elements. In this way the design of Ifa sacred art forms - divination trays, lidded bowls, cups - both expresses the presence of a host of cosmic forces and recalls valuable precedents from the mythic past. Bibliogr., notes, ref.