Opon ( Ifa Divination Board)
Ifa divination plays a critical role in Yoruba society. The Yoruba believe that except for the day one is born and the day one is supposed to die, there is not a single event that cannot be forecast, and changed if necessary. Through Ifa divination, an individual, or a whole town, can receive solutions to difficult problems and restore harmony between themselves and their gods. Often illness and unexplained deaths are believed to be caused by offended ancestors or neglected deities. The diviner both identifies the cause of the problem and prescribes a remedy for it.

The diviner, or "bablawo," uses several art objects in communicating with the spirit world during divination. The divination tray is the focal point of this process, with the stylized image of Eshu’s face positioned opposite the diviner during the consultation. The diviner throws sixteen palm nuts onto the flat wooden surface, which has been covered with a fine wood dust. From this he determines eight sets of signs, out of a possible 256. Each of these signs has a correlating verse to be chanted, which is then interpreted to the client’s particular situation. (CT)

This "opon ifa" or divination tray, is an example of the primary tool used in the divination rituals of the Yoruba people of Nigeria. It is carved of wood, with images of Eshu, the trickster, cowrie shells, and geometric patterns, carved in low-relief panels along the border.
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