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

Cuban Ifa divination tray

Catalog Number: B343


The owner or manager, El Chino, said that it was made in the workshop at the rear of the store, Casa de Obbatalá botanica in la Habana Vieja, Cuba


Height: 4.5cm / 18.0in
Width: 4.5cm / 18.0in

Religion and Denomination: Ocha (Cuba, Yoruba)
Transatlantic Family of Religion: Orisha
Country of Origin: Cuba
Ethnographic Origin: Caribbean
Materials: Wood
Usage: Ritual (non-yet-used)
Detailed Description of Significance:

Cuban trays normally include at least a sun, a moon, and a skull, as well as either an image of Echú (or a cross, which Victor Betancourt thinks is inappropriately Christian).  This finely carved tray features a cross instead of an image of Echu.  The four symbols around its raised perimeter represent and invoke the spirit of the cycle of life and death—the sun, a cross (for life), the moon, and the skull.  The snakes, says babalawo Victor Betancourt, invoke the idea of the snake biting its tail, a further symbol of the cycle of life and death.