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Orí (Head) as an Expression of Yorùbá Aesthetic Philosophy


  • Ajíbóyè Olusegun
  • Fọlárànmí Stephen
  • Umoru-Ọkẹ Nanashaitu

    (Department of Fine and Applied Arts, Obafemi Awólọ́wọ University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria)


Aesthetics was never a subject or a separate philosophy in the traditional philosophies of black Africa. This is however not a justification to conclude that it is nonexistent. Indeed, aesthetics is a day to day affair among Africans. There are criteria for aesthetic judgment among African societies which vary from one society to the other. The Yorùbá of Southwestern Nigeria are not different. This study sets out to examine how the Yorùbá make their aesthetic judgments and demonstrate their aesthetic philosophy in decorating their orí, which means head among the Yorùbá. The head receives special aesthetic attention because of its spiritual and biological importance. It is an expression of the practicalities of Yorùbá aesthetic values. Literature and field work has been of paramount aid to this study. The study uses photographs, works of art and visual illustrations to show the various ways the head is adorned and cared for among the Yoruba. It relied on Yoruba art and language as a tool of investigating the concept of ori and aesthetics. Yorùbá aesthetic values are practically demonstrable and deeply located in the Yorùbá societal, moral and ethical idealisms. It concludes that the spiritual importance of orí or its aesthetics has a connection which has been demonstratively established by the Yorùbá as epressed in the images and illustrations used in this paper.

Suggested Citation

  • Ajíbóyè Olusegun & Fọlárànmí Stephen & Umoru-Ọkẹ Nanashaitu, 2018. "Orí (Head) as an Expression of Yorùbá Aesthetic Philosophy," Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, Sciendo, vol. 9(4), pages 59-70, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:vrs:mjsosc:v:9:y:2018:i:4:p:59-70:n:6

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