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Necklaces Used in the Santería of Cuba


Jayson Rubio

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This article examines the necklaces used in the Afro-Cuban Rule of Orisha, more commonly known as Santería. This religion, created by African slaves brought to Cuba starting in the 16th century, combines aspects of Yoruba orisha worship and Spanish Catholicism. It allowed African religious beliefs and practices to survive despite the imposition of Catholic doctrine. One of the outcomes of this amalgamation is the practice of associating individual orishas (deities) with certain Catholic saints. Each orisha is represented by specific necklaces that incorporate particular bead forms, colors, and numbers.

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The Society of Bead Researchers is a non-profit scientific-educational corporation founded in 1981 to foster historical, archaeological, and material cultural research on beads and beadwork of all materials and periods, and to expedite the dissemination of the resultant knowledge. Membership is open to all persons involved in the study of beads, as well as those interested in keeping abreast of current trends in bead research.

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