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At the Crossroads
Afro-Cuban Orisha Arts in Miami


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A variety of Orisha garments are used in specific ceremonial contexts. On the second day of an ordination, for example, the iyawó (novice) wears two outfits that are specially commissioned for the ritual: the traje del almuerzo (lunch outfit) and the traje de gala (coronation outfit). These garments are made in the specific colors of the person’s tutelary or principal orisha, such as red for Shangó, blue for Yemojá, and white for Obatalá.

The lunch outfit is usually made of gingham or burlap. The coronation outfit is much more elaborate and is an exhibition of the creativity and dexterity of the tailor or seamstress. This art form has evolved tremendously in Miami over the past twenty years, as is evident in comparing the earlier work of Pilar Benitez with the contemporary outfits by artists such as Jorge Ortega, Rolando Vasallo, and Eusebio Escobar. When dressed in a coronation outfit, the iyawo also wears an elegant crown. The ordination of an Orisha priest/priestess is considered analogous to the coronation of a king or queen.

Another type of ceremonial garment is the traje de baile (dance outfit). This ensemble is made for an individual specifically engaged as a “mount” at a wemilere, i.e., someone who will be possessed by the honored orisha at a drumming celebration. Dance outfits do not require a crown. Instead, a female mount will typically wear a kerchief, while a male will wear a textile cap.

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Afro-Cuban Orisha Arts in Miami
The Afro-Cuban Orisha Religion | Orisha Worship in Miami
Orisha Artists | Beadwork | Paños | Garments | Thrones
Herramientas | Music | Ifá Paraphernalia
The Orisha Tradition in Popular Arts
Pantheon of Orishas

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