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  • John M. Schechter


Afro-Cuban rattle, or consecrated protective staff, held by Ifa diviners of the Lucumí religious tradition. At the top of a vertical iron bar, affixed to a base or nailed into the ground, are four small cones, soldered at their vertices and containing seeds, bones, or pebbles. Their bases support a thin metal plate, set horizontally and with the figure of a standing bird at its centre. The instrument symbolizes a mythical being to whom offerings are made; it ‘calls’ the being by being shaken, the objects within the cones creating the sound. If the ...

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