Showcasing the art and ritual of the African and African-diaspora religions

10 bracelets of òjé

Catalog Number: D004


Bracelets: 3" diameter 
Pieces of ivory: 1"x.5"


Religion and Denomination: Yoruba indigenous religion (Yoruba)
Country of Origin: Nigeria
Materials: Lead
Date of Manufacture: 06/2010
Usage: N/A
Detailed Description of Significance:

 The number 10 is significant to Ọbàtálá, and thus,ideally, 10 of each item if available, would be placed inside his altar, Both lead and ivory ójè and irìn are important materials in the worship of Ọbàtálá, who enjoys those materials. Ivory in particular is a preferred material of Ọbàtálá, who is particularly fond of the color white, and is often regarded as being all white. Ọbàtálá, in Yoruba religion, is regarded as the oldest god and is often depicted as an ancient man. A tale tells that when Ọbàtálá walked on earth, the elephants mocked him for having no teeth, so he took their teeth; this is a further reason why ivory is a favorite material of Ọbàtálá and is regarded as an important component of an altar honoring him. The pieces of ivory are tooth-shaped. They are, furthermore, decorated with carved designs; this decoration is called fín fín  and pleases Ọbàtálá.  The bracelets symbolize the authority of the wearer, and cannot be taken back once offered, just like the bearer’s authority. 

Ten lead bracelets and ten pieces of inscribed ivory—the sacred things normally contained in a West African Yorùbá altar for the god Ọbàtálá, lord of the white cloth and master of gestation.  The number 10 is his emblematic number, while lead and ivory are among his emblematic materials.