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

Nigerian Brass Manillas, Bracelets, and Ring

Catalog Number: D065/J030

Materials: Brass
Usage: N/A
Detailed Description of Significance:

These are brass manillas, a type of bracelet worn in worship of the Yoruba goddess Oshun. In addition to their desirability as objects of use in Yoruba religious practices, manillas like these were previously used as currency in West Africa. During the TransAtlantic slave trade, this form of currency was often traded for human beings. In the bottom right corner is a brass ring, which is twisted, smaller, and closed unlike the manillas. This ring is said to have significant physical power. If a person is wearing the ring and hits someone else on the back, the hit person will go flying across the room. The spiritual significance of these brass bracelets are said to be an initial object in the worship of Oshun. Oshun is said to have a long hand, a term for what American’s would call the hand and forearm, in order to fit all the bracelets that she possessed.