Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-sjtt6 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-16T16:41:24.619Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

4 - Abstracting Candomblé: Defining the ‘Public’ and the ‘Particular’ Dimensions of a Spirit Possession Cult

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 January 2021

Get access

Summary

Since Jorge Amado's publication of Jubiabá, endless cycles of quotation have effected a genuine proliferation of Candomblé imagery in Bahia's public sphere. Quoting, as I have stated before, is always a procedure that produces distance. It removes you from the source. It takes the heat out of things, so to speak. ‘Look, it has been said before! I’m only quoting!’ Yet it also creates little pipelines between fields that were hitherto unconnected. Through these pipelines the color of the quote – its feel, its temperature, its texture – is passed on to the new surroundings in which it was inserted. In this process, both the quote itself and its new context are bound to change their meaning.

In Salvador, the process of quoting Candomblé has now reached a stage that is exemplified by the advertisement campaign of Tidelli garden equipment: the orixás are only recognizable as such because of the presence of emblematic symbols (Xangô's fire, Iemanjá's hand-held mirror, Oxóssi's bow-and-arrow, Iansá's sword). Other than that, they look like the hip members of a young, urban party crowd – beautiful, seductive, desirable – and they are supposed to confer meaning onto garden chairs and garden tables. With the Tidelli posters we are light-years away from Dr Nina's ill-lit, messy terreiros, or Jorge Amado's sweaty, foaming ceremonies. And yet, some echoes of these earlier renditions of the Candomblé universe remain.

Quotations of Candomblé such as the Tidelli campaign are all over the place in the public sphere of contemporary Salvador. To evoke the sheer density of Candomblé imagery in Salvador, and the accompanying sensation that these images are in a process of ‘drifting out of meaning’, I was tempted to proceed this chapter with a rather unorthodox form of ethnographic description, namely to simply ‘show it all’: to start a plain enumeration of the manifestations of Candomblé's public forms that would go on-and-on-and-on, page after page, so as to end up with a text resembling that famous Borgesian project of making a map of the empire on a scale of one to one.

Type
Chapter
Information
Ecstatic Encounters
Bahian Candomblé and the Quest for the Really Real
, pp. 127 - 158
Publisher: Amsterdam University Press
Print publication year: 2011

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×