Monday, February 8, 2010

Ori (= head):

These Ori (Yoruba for "head") are fashioned after a conventional treatment of the face of Eshu, the Orisa of, amongst other things, "indeterminacy." When I started working on the sketch for this watercolor I looked at carved representations of Eshu on the borders of the Opun Ifa, wooden divining trays used to consult the Ifa oracle, and decided to ask my teacher Ajala about the typical 3 cicatrix (decorative scars) on each cheek. Here's his answer:

"Ok Dan,
Is a very good question.In Yoruba we have different marks,like that one it have some family that they taking it.but some sculpture just do it like a design to the opon ifa.But some has mean to who captured it.The head signifies like the top or the head of opon ifa ,when they put it down,for them to no the right way to put it down.About the Mark,We call that mark "ILA"Just to recognize the family who u are.It don't not save any meaning to the opon ifa"

In the days of the US slave trade, the Ila were called "country marks," and recognized as markers of the country of origin of slaves who had them.

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