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    Artist Name:

    Yoruba Artist

    Nationality & Life Dates:





    Twentieth century




    11 1/4 x 9 x 9 inches

    Credit Line:

    Gift of Bernard and Patricia Wagner

    Accession Number:


    Currently Not on View
    Yoruba beliefs regarding the “inner head” play an important role in the arts related to deities or òrìsà. An altar serves as the “face of the spirit,” representing the outer head of a deity and concealing its inner head. The inner head is represented on altars by natural objects or nonfigurative signifiers empowered with rituals and charms. Vessels like such as this one are used to conceal these objects that represent the inner head of a deity. The face on the vessel provides an insight into why the Yoruba call an altar “the face of the spirit.” It stresses the humanity within the spirit’s divinity, as well as the popular belief that, like mortals, every òrìsà has a head empowered by Olódùmarè, the ultimate source.

    Reproduction of digital images, including downloading, is governed by copyright laws and international conventions. Please contact the Images and Rights Coordinator for information concerning permissions or to request digital photography of works in the High's collection.

    Please Note: Not all permanent collection works are currently on view. Please contact the Museum concerning the on view status for a specific work if required.

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