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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.5039
Origin: Southwestern Nigeria
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 17.25" (43.8cm) high x 13" (33.0cm) wide
Collection: African Art
Medium: Brass

Location: United States
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At the time when the scared 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.

The surface of this fan is bursting with life. Two stylized birds crawl along the edge, their bodies made of tiny circles within squares imitating scales, while their heads are simple triangles. The tail of one lizard turns into a series of connected triangles each with a floret in the center, encircling the upper portion of the fan like a garland. A large bird peers into a triangle filled with concentric circles resembling a great tree, There is another bird at the bottom with its head down as if feeding. An oblong shape in the middle contains triangles with striated borders and florets. All of this abundant life is symbolic of the river, where Osun is queen and where the priestess interprets her mysteries.
- (PF.5039)


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