Photographs © Tim Hamill
House of the Head Shrine 1
This house of the head shrine has been vetted as old and authentic.
Throughout Yorubaland, a person venerates his or her ori-inu ("inner head"), a personal spirit that guides an individual's destiny. ..The symbol of the inner head is a small conical object, which is in turn secreted in a larger container with a conical lid called ile-ore, literally, "house of the head." The ile-ori which serves as a shrine to the ori-inu, is made from leather and cloth and covered with expensive cowrie shells and sometimes beads. Both the cowrie ornamentation and the conical shape are significant. Because of the association of cowries with currency and wealth, the cowrie-decorated ile-ori shrine honors the ori-inu and elevates the prestige of the owner.
--from African Shapes of the Sacred: Yoruba Religious
Art by Carol Ann Lorenz, Senior Curator,
Longyear Museum of Anthropology, Colgate University.
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