Calabash rattle, Nigeria, 1851-1920
This club-shaped rattle was used by a priest of the Shango cult from the Yoruba people of Nigeria, West Africa. Shango is the Yoruba god of thunder and is worshipped as a healing god. The priest would go into a trance-like state and, using the rattle to communicate with Shango, receive recipes for medical treatments. Treatment of the sick and diseased involved the whole community rather than just the individual. The rattle is made from a gourd called a calabash, and has cloth, shells, wood and metal stitched on to the surface.
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