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Art and Oracle: African Art and Rituals of Divination

Art and Oracle: African Art and Rituals of Divination

LaGamma, Alisa, with an essay by John Pemberton III
80 pages
55 illustrations
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Director's Foreword
Philippe de Montebello

Alisa LaGamma

Map of Sub-Saharan Africa
John Pemberton III


Oracular Sculpture: Figurative Divination Instruments

Visual Metaphors: Ifa Divination Instruments

Dynamic Devices: Kinetic Oracles

Visual Commentaries: Sets of Divination Signs

Invoking the Spirits: Musical Devices

Emblems of Enlightenment and Power: Diviners' Insignias

Empowering the Individual: Diviners' Prescriptions

The Iconography of Divination: Monuments of Divine Insight

Checklist of the Exhibition
Photograph Credits

Baule peoples
19th–mid-20th century
Female Diviner's Figure, Wood, pigment, glass beads, copper alloy, sacrificial materials, Baule peoples
Baule peoples
19th–mid-20th century
Oracle Figure (Kafigeledjo), Wood, iron, bone, porcupine quills, feathers, commercially woven fiber, organic material, Senufo peoples
Senufo peoples
19th–mid-20th century
Ifa Divination Vessel: Female Caryatid (Agere Ifa), Ivory, wood or coconut shell inlay, Yoruba peoples, Owo group
Yoruba peoples, Owo group
17th–19th century
Divination Instrument (Galukoji), Wood, bamboo, feathers, fiber, beads, abrus seeds, camwood powder, Pende peoples
Pende peoples
20th century
Gong Mallet with Equestrian Figure (Lawle), Wood, cotton, Baule peoples
Baule peoples
19th–20th century
Diviner's Bag (Apo Ifa), Cotton, beads, leather, Yoruba peoples
Yoruba peoples
20th century
Kòmò Helmet Mask (Kòmòkun), Wood, encrustation, quills, feathers, horns, bird skull, Komo or Koma Power Association
Komo or Koma Power Association
19th–mid-20th century
Figure: Janus (Bocio), Wood, bone, metal wire, sacrificial materials, Fon peoples
Fon peoples
19th–early 20th century
Maternity Figure (Ntekpe), Terracotta, Igbo peoples
Igbo peoples
19th–20th century

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View Citations

LaGamma, Alisa, and John Pemberton. 2000. Art and Oracle: African Art and Rituals of Divination. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art : Distributed by H.N. Abrams.