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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Yoruba Brass Fans : Yoruba Brass Fan of an Osun Priestess
Yoruba Brass Fan of an Osun Priestess - PF.5026
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 14.75" (37.5cm) high
Collection: African
Medium: Brass

Location: United States
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At the time when the sacred waters of orisa Osun are taken in brass bowls from the river to the shrine, the priestess carries her fan as an insignia of office. As a mediator between this world and the "other world", the priestess is able to interpret messages from the river deity Osun to her supplicants in response to their questions. She is also in touch with spirits of nature, using these natural forces to help people in a variety of ways.

A series of embossed dots in three bands surround the central space of this fan. Two birds flank a highly stylized snake with a viper's triangular head and bulbous body. Both the bird and snake are important to Yoruba iconography: the former used as a symbol for the feminine spirit, while the latter stand for fertility. An embossed V-shape with solid circles in the center decorates the outer band. The result is a combination of simple configurations creating a powerful archaic effect of ritual magic through symbols.
- (PF.5026)


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