Wooden divination board

Made:
1880-1920 in Democratic Republic of Congo
Itombwa in the figure of a stylized animal. Democratic Republic of Congo. 1880-1920. Three quarter front detail view. Itombwa in the figure of a stylized animal. Democratic Republic of Congo. 1880-1920. Three quarter front view. White

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Itombwa in the figure of a stylized animal. Democratic Republic of Congo. 1880-1920. Three quarter front detail view.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Itombwa in the figure of a stylized animal. Democratic Republic of Congo. 1880-1920. Three quarter front view. White
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Itombwa (carved wooden divination board) in the form of a stylized animal, flat rubbing surface without rubbing block, Kuba people, Democratic Republic of Congo, 1880-1920

A wooden divination board, known as an itombwa. It is carved in the form of an animal and was used by diviners of the Kuba people to answer questions about an illness. The flat back is covered in oil and water and rubbed with the wooden block. When the diviner mentions something important to the patient the block sticks – even when the itombwa is turned upside down.

Details

Category:
Ethnography and Folk Medicine
Object Number:
A657309
type:
divination board
taxonomy:
  • divination object
credit:
Loan, Wellcome Trust