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Fascinating & spooky collection of Haitan Voodoo art objects

Neil Patrick

Haitian Vodou or  commonly Voodoo  is a syncretic religion practiced chiefly inHaiti and the Haitian diaspora. Vodouists believe in a distant and unknowable Supreme Creator, Bondye (derived from the French term Bon Dieu, meaning “good God”).

According to Vodouists, Bondye does not intercede in human affairs, and thus they direct their worship toward spirits subservient to Bondye, called loa. Every loa is responsible for a particular aspect of life, with the dynamic and changing personalities of each loa reflecting the many possibilities inherent to the aspects of life over which they preside.

In order to navigate daily life, vodouists cultivate personal relationships with the loa through the presentation of offerings, the creation of personal altars and devotional objects, and participation in elaborate ceremonies of music, dance, and spirit possession.

All Photos by Thomas Quine/Flickr

Vodou_mirror_museum_exhibit

Vodou mirror museum exhibit

 

Antique ceremonial suit for Haitian Vodou rites

Antique ceremonial suit for Haitian Vodou rites

 

Ceremonial drum.Source

Ceremonial drum.

The most distinctive Vodou art form is the drapo Vodou, an embroidered flag often decorated with sequins or beads, but the term covers a wide range of visual art forms including paintings, embroidered clothing, clay or wooden figures, musical instruments and assemblages. Since the 1950s there has been growing demand for Vodou art by tourists and collectors.

Devil with 12 eyes

Devil with 12 eyes

 

That's a real human skull on top of this Voodoo art - Berlin 2010

That’s a real human skull on top of this Voodoo art – Berlin 2010

 

Trop-Pou-Te

 

All Voodoo art is twisted - Berlin 2010

All Voodoo art is twisted – Berlin 2010

 

Voodoo art from Haiti constructed around a real human skull - Berlin 2010

Voodoo art from Haiti constructed around a real human skull – Berlin 2010

 

All Voodoo art is violently twisted - Berlin 2010

All Voodoo art is violently twisted – Berlin 2010

 

Banner of a Voodoo cult - Berlin 2010

Banner of a Voodoo cult – Berlin 2010

 

Voodoo beggarman

Voodoo beggarman

 

Voodoo creatures

Voodoo creatures

 

Vodou art can be difficult to classify in Western terms. Rachel Beauvoir-Dominique, writing of Marianne Lehmann’s Vodou art collection, notes that “even today, the Creole language does not possess any word to designate what Western civilization qualifies as ‘art’.”André Breton dismissed Haitian art, noting that Haiti had no museums or art collections. He apparently saw no value in the art associated with the backward Vodou religion.

A devilish creature at the Voodoo art exhibit - Berlin 2010

A devilish creature at the Voodoo art exhibit – Berlin 2010

 

Voodoo Drum

Voodoo Drum

 

Voodoo fetish object

Voodoo fetish object

 

Voodoo granny Macabre exhibition of Voodoo art - Berlin 2010

Voodoo granny Macabre exhibition of Voodoo art – Berlin 2010

 

Voodoo woman

Voodoo woman

 

Berlin 2010

Berlin 2010

 

Vodou originated in the Caribbean and developed in the French Empire in the 18th century among West African slaves when African religious practice was actively suppressed, and enslaved Africans were forced to convert to Christianity. Religious practices of contemporary Vodou are descended from, and closely related to, West African Vodun as practiced by the Fon and Ewe.

Vodou also incorporates elements and symbolism from other African peoples including the Yoruba and Kongo; as well as Taíno religious beliefs, Roman Catholicism, and European spirituality including mysticism,Freemasonry, and other influences.