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

Venezuelan Crown for the Cuban Goddess Yemayá

Catalog Number: B073


7.44" x 7.61" x 8.68" 
188.99 mm x 193.37 mm x 220.39 mm

Religion and Denomination: Ocha (Cuba, Yoruba)
Transatlantic Family of Religion: Orisha
Country of Origin: Venezuela
Ethnographic Origin: Caribbean
Materials: Plastic
Date of Manufacture: 03/2014
Usage: Ritual (used)
Detailed Description of Significance:

Yemayá is the goddess of the sea in Cuban and Cuban-inspired Santería, or Regla de Ocha, religion.  This European-style crown represents her as a queen and her initiates as royalty.  The iconography of this crown specifies the nature of her powers.

The shape and coloring of this crown evoke the ocean, the domain of Yemayá. The beading pattern is made of alternating lines of silver- and pearl-colored beads. These beads are arranged in not in straight lines but in swirls and waves that curl around the blue plastic jewels. In Yemayá’s iconography, clear beads and blue beads are more common than pearly or silver ones.  However, on this crown, the pearly and silver-colored beads reflect the blue of the jewels, and the imitation pearls suggest not only water but also the riches of the ocean.

Yemayá’s sacred number is 7 and the number 3 is associated with Elegguá, the messenger oricha who enables communication between humans and their gods. However, the number three in an important theme in the ritual and sacred paraphernalia of most of the gods.  There are 7 jewels around the base of the crown, and 3 ascending up the front.