Showcasing the art and ritual of the African and African-diaspora religions

Altar to the God Ogum

Catalog Number: C020


46 cm L, 35 cm W


Religion and Denomination: Candomblé (Brazil)
Country of Origin: Brazil
Ethnographic Origin: Bahian (Brazil)
Usage: N/A
Detailed Description of Significance:

Ogum is the orixá of war and iron. He is the toolmaker and seven is his number, explaining why there are seven tools on each side of the bow-like apparatus inside the shrine as well as seven rings and ideally seven spears. While some gods wear ritual outfits that strongly emulate royalty, other orixás more renowned for their bellicosity wear ritual outfits much like those of warriors. For this reason, Ogum wears a helmet instead of a crown. For similar reasons, Ogum also takes an earthenware shrine instead of a porcelain soup tureen with its more refined appearance.

The large bow in the center of the bowl is meant to draw a connection to Oxóssi, Ogum’s brother. A theme that is visible in many of these objects is demonstrating the connections between the orixá the object is intended for and other orixás related to them in some way, such as using silver metal in objects for Xangô Airá to demonstrate his close connection to Oxalá. The orixás have rich histories relating them to each other and their ritual art speaks to this.