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Wooden male figure
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Тhis rare wooden image is evidence for the religious beliefs and rituals of the people who lived in the Caribbean before the arrival of European conquerors. It was made by Taino, whose communities were ruled by elite classes of chiefs, called caciques, and spiritual leaders.

Taino religion focused on the spiritual forces of the human world versus the forces of the natural world. These opposites balanced each other and potentially affected humans in both good and bad ways. Natural forces included the spirits of rain, manioc and the earth, and the Taino created images of these deities in stone and wood. This standing wooden male figure has channels carved from its eyes down its cheeks. These 'tear channels' are associated in Taino myth with twin zemis (spirit helpers), one related to the sun and the other to rain. This figure may therefore represent a deity or ancestor.

Wooden male figure

From Jamaica, AD 1200-1500
Ht40 cm
Christy Collection
Isaac Alves Rebello Collection

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