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

Bell for Obatalá

Catalog Number: B066


8.54" x 2.55" x 2.47" 

216.85 mm x 64.83 mm x 62.67 mm

Religion and Denomination: Santería (Cuba, Yoruba)
Ethnographic Origin: Cuban (Caribbean)
Materials: Metal
Usage: N/A
Detailed Description of Significance:

This bell is for obatalá, often considered the father of all Orichas; he is a merciful, wise and calm Lucumí divinity responsible for creating the human body before birth and charged with overseeing all the other divinities’ activities. The bell with the handle of a feather represents the symbolism of the dove for Obatalá. The white bird is considered a symbol of Obatalá and therefore the bell calls for him when the it is rung.  JLM: I asked Cuban-American Babalocha Esteban Quintana if we could consecrate this bell for use on the ancestor altar.  He said no, because this kind of bell produces a sound specific to Obatala’ (10/29/16).

May be an allusion to his sacred bird, the dove. According to Iyá Òṣùn Talabi Adedoyin Faniyi of Oṣogbo a bell to Obatalá always has a curved handle; curvature of the feather may represent a Cuban-style adaptation of that form.