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

Ile Ori- House of the Head

Catalog Number: D022




20 cm tall, 13 cm in diameter


8 in tall, 5 in in diameter

Contains a small object (ìbo̩ri)


Religion and Denomination: Yoruba indigenous religion (Yoruba)
Transatlantic Family of Religion: Orisha
Country of Origin: Nigeria
Ethnographic Origin: Yoruba
Materials: Cloth
Usage: N/A
Detailed Description of Significance:

Throughout Yorubaland, people venerate their 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 ilé-orí 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.