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

Bell for the Goddess Iansã

Catalog Number: C004


25 cm L, 13 cm W


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

Iansã is the goddess of wind and storm. She is one of the wives of Xangô and, like her husband, she claims red as one of her colors.  Others include autumn and copper hues, explaining why her bell is rendered in copper.

The total of three large bells, three small bells, and three pearl-centered flowers adds up to nine, which is the sacred number of Iansã. Nine is not represented directly, but by three sets of three. Had the bell had nine equally sized bells it would look very different aesthetically. I find this more abstract representation of nine indicative of the ability of orixá art and its makers to incorporate new elements in traditional art, to put their own spin on things while still remaining true to the tradition.