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

Metal enamel bowl and cup

Catalog Number: A010


cup: h-9.7, d-10.9 
bowl: h-4.1, d-23.9


cup: h-3.8, d-4.3 
bowl: h-1.6, d-9.4


Religion and Denomination: Sèvi lwa/Vodou (Haiti, Ewe-Gen-Aja-Fon)
Country of Origin: Haiti
Ethnographic Origin: Haitian
Materials: Glass
Usage: N/A
Detailed Description of Significance:

The divinities of Haitian Vodou/Sèvi Lwa require liquid libatons and feeding.  Worshipers must also eat special foods and do so in special foods and do so in special ways.  As in other religions, sacred foods and practices are in Vodou/Sèvi Lwa, intended to recall the foods the practices of ancient and/or ancestral past. Such old-fashioned enamelware recalls the ancestral past and serves the contemporary voduisants, or worshipers, in their gods with food and drink.  The color white permits the use of these objects for any of the Haitian divinities. 

The cup can be used to offer libatons any Iwa.  They can also be used in an iliminasyon (illumination) ceremony.  In such a ceremony, a priest or priestess and his or her assistants make wicks out of cotton balls by thinning them with his/her fingers.  The index fingers must not be used during this process.  The wicks are then placed in a bowl of olive oil and honey; once they absorb the oil and honey, they are lit.  An iliminasyon ceremony is used to enhance the efficacy of prayers.