House of the Head (Ile-ore)

Yoruba Culture, Nigeria

E. 20th C.

Cowrie Shells, Leather, Mirrors, Fabric

13” H x 8” Dia., 17” H on the Stand

33 cm H x 20 cm Dia., 43 cm on the Stand

 Provenance:  A. Nievod, Berkeley, California

 Price upon request

The Yoruba believe each person’s character is determined by the essential nature that is found in one’s inner head (ori-inu)

 A “house of the head” (ile-ore) is a shrine to the inner head and is designed to contain one’s essential nature.  A symbolic head is placed in a house like this and is consulted for guidance.  The cowrie shells, originally a currency, are a symbol of wealth and well being.  The large quantity of cowrie shells indicate this shrine was for a person of prestige.