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

Maraca for Yemayá Asesú

Catalog Number: B026


15.5 x 3


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

Created with blue and white beads in an elaborate cross pattern around the wooden maraca, this maraca is a decorative object used to symbolize Yemayá. The oricha Yemayá, the majestic and maternal Lucumí divinity of the sea, motherhood, and sometimes the moon is usually imagined as a dark-skinned woman with children and a strong temper, and is sometimes called the first oricha to come to the defense of humanity. Yemayá is often considered the most important of the orichas in Santería because of her responsibility as the mother of all things.  Her relationship to the sea stems from the idea that all life started in the sea and it is often understood that without her, humanity would not continue to grow and evolve.

The blue and white on the maraca, bears a strong connection to her role as oricha of the seas. Furthermore the handle of the maraca has 7 hanging strings of beads with cowrie shells attached at the ends, which is significant to Yemayá , as her special number is 7. The number 7 also bears strong ties to Yemayá because of her connection to the 7 seas.

The maraca is also symbolic of the importance of music and rhythmic beats in the various celebrations and rituals of Santería.