J. Arrencivia, Herramientas del Oro de Babalawo , hand carved wood, unfinished surfaces; each piece approx. 3 to 4" long x 1/4", Havana, 2000. This set consists of flat, modular "tools," which take the form of representational and abstract figures (e.g., a detailed and a more abstracted face in profile versus cryptic geometric tablets), in addition to a single janus male-female standing figure (a form of Echu). The set is a principal constituent of the "power" object ( poder ) received by babalawos of Ifa, called Oro or Orun. This power enables to perform, with more profundity and efficacy, chanted invocations to the orichas and the egun. The tools are embedded within a sealed vessel. Morphologically, the 12 wood tools, which are incised with hashmarks, ideographs, and representational figures, reproduce in miniature the bullroarers of the feared and secret Yoruba Oro Society (see second insets). The Yoruba Oro Society is responsible for matters of justice and execution; its bullroarers, attached to cords, produce a fearsome sound when whirled. Cuban report that small bullroarers are utilized within Ifa to intensify the invocatory power of prayer. Fernando Ortiz documented this tradition in 1955 ( Los Instrumentos de la Musica Afrocubana, v.V:pp. 399-410, see first insets). In effect, selected principles of the Yoruba Oro society were condensed into a on the "road of Ifa" in Cuba.


Information on Santeria and Babalawo

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