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

Sword for Yemayá

Catalog Number: B020




Religion and Denomination: Santería (Cuba, Yoruba)
Transatlantic Family of Religion: Orisha
Ethnographic Origin: Cuban (Caribbean)
Materials: Plastic
Usage: Ritual (used)
Detailed Description of Significance:

Created with black and blue beads in an elaborate cross pattern, this sword 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 black and blue on the sword, bears a strong connection to her role as oricha of the seas. Furthermore the handle of the fly whisk has 7 hanging strings of beads with a glass ball attached at the end, 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.