Sacred Art: Catholic Saints and Candomblé Gods in Modern Brazil

By Pravina Shukla; Henry Glassie | Go to book overview

5
IBIMIRIM
Carvers in the Sertão

THE BUS THAT TRAVELS the long route from Recife in Pernambuco to Juazeiro in Bahia dropped us on the street in Ibimirim at three in the morning. No bus station, no light, no sound, nobody around. We banged on the door of a pousada and a young man rose from a mattress on the floor and gave us a room, complete with a fan.

We awakened to the heat and splendid skies of the Sertão, found a breakfast of plain cake and orange soda. A friendly man in the café pointed us toward a street that left at an angle and ran straight to the town’s edge. This is the street where the santeiros live and work, Rua Inés Rolim. On both of its sides houses link into an unbroken sequence, a long low wall given rhythm by pretty colors and small variations of facade.

Ibimirim’s houses are of a kind common in the back country, to the south in Bahia as well as here in Pernambuco: narrow and deep, a file of rooms in retreat, like the shotgun houses of the southern United States. The plans are so similar, so alike in detail, that there is bound to be a connection, deep in history. When the great cultural geographer Fred Kniff en encountered the shotgun in his survey of Louisiana housing, he recognized that its origin could not be European. Subsequent research, following his lead, has located possible sources in Native American and African building, and tracked the form’s movement from Haiti to New Orleans, then — against the grain of the westering migration of European house forms — upstream along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, so that shotgun houses are as characteristic of Louisville, Kentucky, as they are of New Orleans.

-103-

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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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