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Yoruba Power Fetish Horn or Charm Olugbohun

Yoruba Power Fetish Horn or Charm Olugbohun

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Yoruba people, mid. 20th century Nigeria, West Africa.

Fascinating, aged power fetish horn or charm are finely constructed by local Onisegun (medicine men) by using secret recipes that date centuries. Olúgbohùn (the hearer of all voice) is a charm representing an echo, and has been used for centuries in Yoruba spiritual practice. Olúgbohùn acts as a catalyst to words, making them much more powerful than they are naturally. It can be used ethically, as in prayer (iwure), or malicious, in applying curses (epe). Olúgbohùn is never kept inside the house, but far away in the bushes and consulted only once in a while.

The Yoruba people are an ethnic group that inhabits western Africa, mainly Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Ghana. Traditional Yoruba religious beliefs recognize a wide variety of deities (400 + 1 ), with Olorun or Olodumare venerated as the creator and other lesser gods serving as intermediates to help with the concerns of humans. Yoruba religion (Isese) is the basis for a number of religions in the New World, notably Santería, Umbanda, Trinidad Orisha, Haitian Vodou, and Candomblé. Its also shares some parallels with the Vodun practiced by the neighboring Fon and Ewe peoples to the west and to the religion of the Edo people to the east. In the Yoruba religion, after death the guardian soul arrives in the heaven and confesses to the Olodumare what it's done on Earth. The good souls will then be sent to the Good Heaven (Orun Rere). The souls of the wicked will be sent to the Bad Heaven (Orun Buburu) as punishment. Yoruba deities (Orisa) include wind goddess (Oya), divination or fate (Ifá), destiny (Eleda), twins (Ibeji), medicines and healing (Osanyin) and  goddess of fertility, protector of children and mothers (Osun) and the God of thunder (Ṣangó). 

Good condition. Small chip and abrasion. A stunning dark brown patina. Traces of ceremonial use and handling over many years. Remnants of camwood powder. Size approx. 12,8cm x 4,8cm x 3,3cm. 

Provenance: private collection from Morocco

References and further reading:

The Historiography of Yoruba Myth and Ritual, Andrew Apter, History in Africa, Vol. 14, 1987, Published by Cambridge University Press, pp. 1-25.

The Yoruba, Art & Life in Africa, University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art.

The Study of Yoruba Religious Tradition in Historical Perspective, Jacob K. Olupona, Numen, Vol. 40, No. 3, Sep., 1993, pp. 240-273.

Art of the Yoruba, Moyo Okediji, Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, Vol. 23, No. 2, African Art at The Art Institute of Chicago (1997), pp. 164-181+198.

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