Abstract :

This paper investigates the use of religious paraphernalia based on West Central African charms in the bodily adornment of participants commemorating the festival of Our Lady of the Rosary in late nineteenth-century São Paulo, Brazil. Our Lady of the Rosary constituted a popular patron saint for Black confraternities across imperial Brazil (1822–1889). During festivals for this patron saint, West Central African forced laborers and their descendants clad themselves and their children in fine clothes and conventional symbols of orthodox Catholicism, such as crosses and rosary beads, but also with locally sourced materials and objects including pacová, olho de cabra seeds, and jaguar teeth, which referenced or constituted symbols of authority and fertility in West Central Africa. Afro-Brazilians in the city of São Paulo crafted and wore material expressions of religiosity that demonstrated engagement with Catholicism and concurrent reliance on and public celebration of spiritual knowledge from West Central Africa.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 202-231
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.