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

Crown of Xangô Airá

Catalog Number: C015


28.5 cm L, 24 cm W

Religion and Denomination: Candomblé (Brazil)
Country of Origin: Brazil
Ethnographic Origin: Carioca/Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
Materials: Sheet metal
Usage: N/A
Detailed Description of Significance:

Xangô is the orixá of fire and lightning. Red is the color most often associated with him. In Candomble, Xangô has 12 avatars and two different aspects which these avatars are grouped under. Six of the Xangô avatars, known as Xangô Airá, wear white and are represented by white and silver metals. The other six wear red or red and white and are represented by darker metals like copper. The color of this crown sets it apart as belonging to the white-wearing Xangô Airá.

The double axe is the ritual object associated with Xangô, explaining why this form appears all over the crown. Unlike Ogum and Oxóssi, Xangô is an orixá represented with royal iconography, though he is certainly warrior-like.

The bouffant  crown and even the axe blades seem very European in shape, highlighting the cosmopolitan sources of Candomblé.