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

Resin Statue of the Afro-Cuban Goddess Yemayá (2 pieces)

Catalog Number: B096


7.52" x 9.01" x 13.38" 
190.97 mm x 228.84 mm x 340 mm

Religion and Denomination: Ocha (Cuba, Yoruba)
Transatlantic Family of Religion: Orisha
Country of Origin: China
Ethnographic Origin: Cuban (Caribbean)
Materials: Cowries
Date of Manufacture: 03/2014
Usage: Tourist/Souvenir
Detailed Description of Significance:

This statue was made in China. It raises the question: where do foreign manufacturers get their information about Santería? The goddess is a conglomeration of different standards of beauty. She is dark but has the sharper features of a white woman. She is very slim and has short, straight hair.

Her portrayal as a mermaid is a new form for this Afro-Cuban god. Similar portrayals have been used in Brazil and West Africa for a longer period.

Some of the other imagery is atypical and implies creative use of tradition. Her crown is the correct colors and has pertinent imagery, but the shape is odd. It could be an attempt to portray the goddess with her hair tied up, but it also bears a resemblance to Chinese crowns of the Ming dynasty.

The Elegguá has the correct basic shape, but where others have a nail or hook this one has hair tied in a peak. He is also missing the ears normally found on an Elegguá.

This statue is a fascinating mixture of images and cultures that work together to create a new image of Yemayá.