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

Plaster Statue of the Candomblé God Omolú

Catalog Number: C114


9.70" x 4.13" x 4.14"

246.50 mm x 104.78 mm x 105.07 mm

Religion and Denomination: Candomblé (Brazil)
Transatlantic Family of Religion: Orisha
Country of Origin: Brazil
Ethnographic Origin: Brazilian (Brazil)
Materials: Ceramic
Usage: Ritual (non-yet-used)
Detailed Description of Significance:

Omolú is the god of epidemics, particularly pestilential skin diseases.  During spirit possession, he normally wears clothing crocheted out of raffia palm fiber and/or patterned cloth mottled with earth tones. The bright yellow of the raffia palm attire and the bright red of his hat and armbands are unusual. It is also unusual for this god to be portrayed with such light skin and for his arms to be showing. Omolú is covered in scars and sores, and he normally covers all the skin on his upper body. The white undergarments are also somewhat unusual. During possession ceremonies, the cloth of choice for Omolú is either patterned cloth (which evokes the different colors that the skin can turn when a person has an epidemic disease, particularly a skin disease) or raffia, which conceals the god’s shamefully damaged skin.

The broom he is holding is made from the ribs of palm leaves. The most common function of this broom is to keep sprits of the dead away from Candomblé initiates. Xaxara associated with Omolú are decorated with either red and black or black and white beads. They are always decorated with cowry shells. The flower pattern on this xaxara might be indicative of cowry shell decoration.