Catholic Saints and Candomble Gods in Modern Brazil
Published by: Indiana University Press
Sacred art flourishes today in northeastern Brazil, where European and African religious traditions have intersected for centuries. Professional artists create images of both the Catholic saints and the African gods of Candomblé to meet the needs of a vast market of believers and art collectors.
Over the past decade, Henry Glassie and Pravina Shukla conducted intense research in the states of Bahia and Pernambuco, interviewing the artists at length, photographing their processes and products, attending Catholic and Candomblé services, and finally creating a comprehensive book, governed by a deep understanding of the artists themselves.
Beginning with Edival Rosas, who carves monumental baroque statues for churches, and ending with Francisco Santos, who paints images of the gods for Candomblé terreiros, the book displays the diversity of Brazilian artistic techniques and religious interpretations. Glassie and Shukla enhance their findings with comparisons from art and religion in the United States, Nigeria, Portugal, Turkey, India, Bangladesh, and Japan and gesture toward an encompassing theology of power and beauty that brings unity into the spiritual art of the world.
1. The Historical Center
2. Modern Masters of Sacred Art
3. The Sculptor's Story
4. Markets for Sacred Art
5. Ibimirim: Carvers in the Sertão
6. Maragojipinho: Sacred Clay in Bahia
7. Tracunhaém: Sacred Clay in Pernambuco
8. Painting in Olinda
9. Carving in Cachoeira
10. Return to Pelourinho
11. Saints and Orixás in Pelourinho
12. Smiths of the Sacred
13. The Painter of Orixás
14. Power and Beauty
15. Time Passes
This unique, valuable study of vernacular religious art carries a positive assessment of the power of art to define what is religious and ultimately what is human. Scholars often speculate on the art of the people, the individuals who make it, the communities and family units from which it issues, the markets where it is sold, and the collectors who pursue it. Through painstaking ethnographic fieldwork, Glassie and Shukla answer these questions, imparting an appreciation of how material creation is central to the human interaction with the divine. Admirably linking folklore research to theology—especially the vernacular theology lived by Catholics and African-based believers in Brazil— this book should become required reading in theology and religious studies departments.~Leonard Norman Primiano, Cabrini University
This book is a must for those interested in sacred materiality, vernacular art, and the creative and imaginative blending of two diverse but congruent belief systems.~Journal of American Folklore