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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.5035
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 20.5" (52.1cm) high
Collection: African Art
Medium: Brass


Location: United States
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Description
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 suppliants 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.

One long and two short oblong shapes form a cross in this fan, each segment decorated with intricate patterns of small open circles down the vertical "shaft", and concentric circles on the horizontal "arms". From the four corners amphibious-like creatures seem to swim away from the center.These animals are cleverly ambiguous, representing either turtles, fish or, as in the case of the top figure, a snail or leech. All are part of life in the river, the river whose "Queen" is Osun, and whose priestess proudly carried this fan in many processions from the river.
- (PF.5035)

 

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