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

Ààjà with knife-like top

Catalog Number: D016


35.56 cm tall, 5.72 cm diameter base, 5.08 cm wide knife top


14" tall, 2.25" diameter base, 2" wide knife top


Religion and Denomination: Yoruba indigenous religion (Yoruba)
Country of Origin: Benin Republic
Ethnographic Origin: Yoruba
Materials: Iron
Usage: N/A
Detailed Description of Significance:

The knife-like top is called an ìdá, meaning “cutlass”, and is an indicator that this bell is intended particularly for the worship of Obàtálá. The cutlass is a common image in Yoruba art, particularly for masculine gods. It is used for cutting yams, an important medicinal ingredient, and can sometimes represent witchcraft as well, particularly malicious witchcraft.  The ringing of the bell is an important factor in ritual performances, providing musical accompaniment and representing the consenting approval of the òrìsà being invoked. The sound of the bell can be viewed as the voice of the òrìsà in the proceedings.