We have often seen in Nigerian movies, weddings and royalties use the horsetail but, we cannot say we know why or the history behind this beautiful symbol.
The horsetail is peculiarly identified with the Yoruba people. It is called ‘Irukere’ which means tail. The Irukere was famously used by the Yoruba deity Orunmila (deity of wisdom). He uses Irukere when traveling to an occasion. It was a tool of power he used to save people. Irukere was also used in his shrine. It has since been used by Yoruba kings and chiefs as a traditional accessory.
The insignia is made of animal hair skin, especially horsetail. The strands of hair, which may be white or black, have a stick within and are fastened by a leather handle or in some cases rubber. An Irukere measures approximately 20 – 21’’ long to tip. It is decorated with beads of different colors (blue, red, green, burgundy, etc.)
Irukere is commonly used by royals, the oracle priest, and elite traditional dancers.
Irukere is not just a traditional tool, but a tool of power. It is an adornment for the elders, kings, chiefs, priests, or those of special importance. And it is also used by the people in their ceremonies.
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