Hatian Vodou Flag with Shimmering Cosmic Snake Spirit

(Africa, 20th Century)

Hatian Vodou Flag with Shimmering Cosmic Snake Spirit
2554 Lincoln Blvd # 696
Venice, CA, 90291
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Hatian Vodou Flag with Shimmering Cosmic Snake Spirit


The traditional shimmering Haitian flag is made of sequined cloth with images of the Haitian Iwa, or spirits. Vodou ceremonies typically open with parades of richly decorated banners, whose glittering sequins entice the spirits to enter the temple and possess devotees. This flag, or drapeau, is brightly sequined with the Vodou Iwa called Dambala, the creator god, commonly represented with snakes. Most of the Hatian flag spirit iconography derives from depictions of Catholic saints.
The cosmic snake figure curling around the star form is meticulously constructed by the hand sewing of individual sequins, in various sizes and colors, forming a celebratory and vibrant portrait. The snake has a bird- like head; it curls around the center form, creating a symmetrical design. Tiny beads embellish line-work. Objects such as a mug, a speaker, a rattle or a musical instrument appear to float in the background around the snakes and the double moon, all which are framed by a repeating wave-like pattern. These ritual designs are called véve, which are also believed to function as beacons. Blue, gold and yellow are the predominant colors. The flag is an imperfect square as the form is completely hand made. It measures 27 x 25 inches. The tradition of creating flags or banners flourished under the colonial occupation of Africa, where it allowed for the articulation of empowered identities using a mixture of African and European symbols. Flags like this one are made of shiny silk fabrics to complement the brilliant mosaic of sequins and beads. A full-size banner typically contains 18,000 to 20,000 sequins and may take months to complete. Although this is a very old ritualistic art tradition, in the 1970s there was a Hatian Renaissance and banners such as this one came to the attention of art collectors, making this piece highly sought after. This banner has the letter WOP on the bottom right hand corner, most likely the artist's signature. The backing is a soft copper-peach silk- like fabric, hand stitched and perfectly finished. This flag is a beautiful and unique work of art. A bewitching work of art, from the provenance of Historia Gallery, CA.

UNFRAMED: HEIGHT: 27 in | WIDTH: 25 in

Origin Africa
Category Paintings
Period 20th Century
Style Unspecified

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THB REF: 2111474307