Sacred Art: Catholic Saints and Candomblé Gods in Modern Brazil

By Pravina Shukla; Henry Glassie | Go to book overview

AN INTRODUCTION

AT THE END WE WALKED UP THE LADEIRA DO CARMO to say goodbye to Izaura. She had just finished painting a new image of São Roque that Edival carved and a Portuguese customer wanted to buy, and she gave us a ride out to the Feira de São Joaquim, so we could say farewell to Jorge and Samuel. We found them both in their workshops, making iron images of Ogum. After warm hugs, they all asked when we would be back. When this book is published, we answered, we’ll return to give copies to all the book’s artists. Projects like this, from beginning to book, always take about a decade of work.

This one began one sweet evening in Salvador when we went to hear a friend of ours, Zéu Lobo, play in a café. His voice flowed over his guitar’s rhythmic complexity, and we were hit by an idea. His songs, the popular classics of the national repertory, were hymns of praise to Brazil. We had already been talking with artists in Brazil, mainly to gain information useful for comparison in projects we had going in other places, in the United States and in the Yorubaland of Nigeria. But suddenly a project in Brazil took shape. We would seek artists who created images of Brazil, paintings and sculpture that, like Zéu Lobo’s songs, enfold a Brazilian idea of Brazil. Brazilians love their place, a “tropical country blessed by God,” in the words of “País Tropical,” one of the standards of Brazilian popular music. We find the country enticing because of its people, and we were off on a quest.

Ethnographic work of the kind we do is like photography. The informational photograph focuses clearly on its subject in context, inevitably pulling in random and productively disruptive facts, while intentionally excluding other things. Brazil is vast. To step back for a long shot and focus on the

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Sacred Art: Catholic Saints and Candomblé Gods in Modern Brazil
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Title Page vii
  • An Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Historical Center 9
  • 2 - Modern Masters of Sacred Art 27
  • 3 - The Sculptor’s Story 65
  • 4 - Markets for Sacred Art 83
  • 5 - Ibimirim Carvers in the Sertão 103
  • 6 - Maragojipinho Sacred Clay in Bahia 151
  • 7 - TracunhaÉm Sacred Clay in Pernambuco 183
  • 8 - Painting in Olinda 245
  • 9 - Carving in Cachoeira 273
  • 10 - Return to Pelourinho 305
  • 11 - Saints and OrixÁs in Pelourinho 333
  • 12 - Smiths of the Sacred 381
  • 13 - The Painter of OrixÁs 423
  • 14 - Power and Beauty 455
  • 15 - Time Passes 477
  • Acknowledgments 487
  • Notes 489
  • Bibliography 511
  • Index 531
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