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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Yoruba Brass Fans : Yoruba Brass Fan of an Osun Priestess
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Yoruba Brass Fan of an Osun Priestess - PF.5027
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 17" (43.2cm) high x 12.125" (30.8cm) wide
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 form the river to the shrine, the priestess of the shrine 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 suppliants in response to their questions. She is also in touch with spirits of nature, using these natural forces to help people with a variety of problems.

The central area of this fan is composed of four "palm leaves" fashioned in a checkerboard pattern with inner circles, fringed by a striated border. The abstract floral concept is also seen in the five branch-like extensions each topped with a triangle filled with five circles. Tendrils shoot out from the lower two branches and up the center. Two birds facing the same direction seem as if they are about to fly away. Birds are important symbols in Yoruba art, representing witches who are believed to be able to change themselves into birds in order to haunt the night. More benevolently, birds are also seen as the "female spirit" with whom people of power, such as kings and priestesses, should be on good terms.
- (PF.5027)


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