Yoruba tribal marks History


Yoruba tribal marks…
I read about Yoruba tribal marks and i decided to share. I find it so interesting and I wonder why the use of tribal marks is fading in Yoruba land. Just Imagine you have one your face…

How will you feel? Read and Share your views

*The Yoruba tribal marks are scarification which are specific identification and beautification marks designed on the face or body of the Yoruba people. The tribal marks are part of the Yoruba culture and are usually inscribed on the body by burning or cutting of the skin during childhood.

The primary function of the tribal marks is for identification of a person’s tribe, family or patrilineal heritage. Other secondary functions of the marks are symbols of beauty, Yoruba creativity and keeping mischievous children alive (ila Abiku). This practice is popular among Yoruba people of Nigeria, Benin, and Togo. During the trans-atlanctic slave trade, tribal identification and facial stripes became important. Some repatriated slaves later reunited with their communities by looking at facial stripes.

However, the use of tribal marks is fading in Yoruba land.
In traditional Yoruba societies, every child is born into a patrilineal clan called idile baba in Yoruba language. The clan share clan names (orile), oriki (poetry), taboos (eewo) and facial marks (ila). The facial marks on the child assigns the child full clan membership rights.

The children with facial marks are called Okola. Families or individuals lacking the normal features consistent with the tribe are not considered as acquiring full standing as agents in Yoruba society. They would also lack the capacity for meaningful behavior, such as greeting, stating and commanding.

Each tribe of the Yoruba ethnic group had different inscription patterns which appears in different sizes and shapes at different locations within the face or body. The location and position of the mark’s inscription depends on the tribe and culture. The tribal marks could be inscribed on the breast, arm, lap or buttocks, but they are usually on the face.

Style Facial marks

1. Pele
The Pele style is three longitudinal lines, inscribed on the cheeks.

Pele have different variants. The variants includes;
Pele Ife, a three longitudinal line inscribed on the cheek. It is peculiar to the Ile Ife people.
Pele Ijebu and Pele Ijesha are another variants of Pele.
Both variants are three short longitudinal lines inscribed on the cheeks.

2. Owu
Owu tribal marks consists of six incisions on each side of the cheeks and peculiar to the indigenes of Owu, an historical city in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State, Nigeria. The Owu tribal mark was inscribed on the cheeks of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

3. Gọmbọ
The Gọmbọ style, also known as Kẹkẹ, consists of multiple straight and curved lines about a half of an inch apart inscribed on the cheeks on both sides of the mouth. Indigenes of Ogbomosho in Oyo State are usually identified by the Gombo or Kẹkẹ style of Yoruba tribal marks.

Abaja can be both a basic and also a complex style. IN its basic form, is either three or four horizontal stripes on the cheeks. The Abaja style also consists of twelve horizontal lines, six lines per cheek. It is often referred to as “Abaja Alaafin Mefa Mefa”.
This tribal mark is unique to the indigenes of Oyo, Nigeria. The Abaja style of Yoruba tribal mark was inscribed on the cheeks of Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, the Alaafin of oyo. Other Yoruba tribal marks include Ture, Mande, Bamu and Jamgbadi.

*Orie, Olanike (2011). “The Structure and Function of Yoruba Facial Scarification”. Anthropological Linguistics.
*Odunbaku, James (2012). “The Use of Tribal Marks in Archaeological and Historical Reconstruction”. Research on Humanities and Social Sciences.
*Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


1 Comment

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. It’s not just a cake – it’s a creation, Contact TUNSWEET CAKE-MAKERS NOW!!! - TrueCelebMedia.com

Leave a Reply