Vodun   (voodoo)   is   the   age-old   West   African   belief   in   a   magic field   of   force   that   rules   our   earthly   existence. A   world   in   which ritual    pots    en    figures    made    out    of    clay    can    attract    gods, goddesses,    ancestors    and    spirits.    Also    a    world    in    which voodoo-gods   have   to   be   fed   offerings   so   that   the   gods   will   not land   people   in   disaster,   and   in   which   figures   charged   with powers can liberate an individual from a hopeless situation. In   Togo   the   pottery   which   is   made   for   the   purpose   of   voodoo rituals   is   called   Wen   Zen,   meaning   pots   with   a   message.   It can   be   recognized   by   a   variety   of   decorations   such   as   holes, studs,   projections,   animal   patterns   en   human   figures.   A   lot   of this    pottery    shows    -    apart    from    residues    from    offerings (alcohol,   herbs   and   food)   -   also   traces   of   white,   red   and   blue pigment   and   bits   of   coloured   textile.   Some   patterns   en   colours distinctly refer to a specific voodoo-god. At   the   very   beginning   of   creation   there   was   Nana   Buruku. This   androgynous   god   brought   forth   the   pair   Mawu-Lissa   to create   order   in   the   cosmos.   They   are   simultaneously   each others'      opposite      and      complement.      Mawu      is      fertility, motherhood,   the   night   and   rest.   Lisa   is   masculine.   Together they   bring   about   the   rhythm   of   night   and   day.   This   balance holds the essence of life. When    the    cosmos    had    been    given    structure,    the    various domains    of    life    were    given    into    care    of    the    innumerable 'children'      of      Mawu-Lissa,      who      all      have      their      own 'specialisations',   and   must   guard   over   creation   as   'lower'   gods or   Vodun.   Greatly   simplifying,   these   gods   can   be   grouped   into 3   pantheons:   the   pantheon   of   the   heavens,   the   pantheon   of the   earth   and   the   pantheon   of   thunder.   Each   pantheon   has   its own   gods   and   goddesses,   who   cover,   as   it   were,   all   aspects and possible experiences of human life. The   most   important   earth   god   is   Sakpata.   He   is   capable   of bringing   hunger   and   disease,   but   he   offers   also   protection against   all   evil.   Red   is   a   typical   Sakpata   colour.   Bulges   refer to   Tohusso,   the   king   of   the   water.   White   is   the   colour   of   Dan, the   cosmic   snake   who   binds   heaven   and   earth,   and   in   doing so   ensures   there   is   a   balance.   Typical   of   Lissa   -   the   male element in the cosmos - are the pots with chameleons. Characteristic   of   this   pottery   is   de   somewhat   rough   finish. The animistic   decorations   and   figures   contain   a   certain   rawness. One   explanation   for   this   primitive   appearance   is   the   lack   of ovens.   In   many   places   in   Togo   clay   is   baked   in   open   fires   at low   temperatures.   Despite   these   technical   limitations   the   pots and figures are of an extraordinary quality. The   information   on   this   subject   relies   heavily   on   the   catalogue Vodun,   Kracht   en Aarde   (Vodun,   Power   and   Earth),   published by   the Afrika   Museum   in   Berg   en   Dal   (Netherlands)   1996   and the   book   African   Vodun:   Art   and   Psychology   and   Power   by Suzanne   Preston   Blier,   published   by   the   University   of   Chicago 1995.
Voodoo pot Lissa. Chameleons attract Lissa, Vodun of strength and all human dealings. The small bulges represent the 'children' of Lissa. The bulges on the pot refer to Sakpata. H. 28 cm. Code 111. Voodoo pot and lid for domestic use (food container). Decorated with various voodoo symbols. H 40 cm. Code 113. Voodoo object Tohusso. The two dogs refer to Tohossu, Vodun of the water. H19 cm. Code 304. Legba is the cosmic messenger in the Vodun religion. Symbol of his power is his erection. His passion must be tempered in order to ensure good communication between gods and humans. This androgynous legba was made by Sowanu Ambede. H 59 cm. Code 314. Legba is the cosmic messenger in the Vodun religion. Symbol of his power is his erection. His passion must be tempered in order to ensure good communication between gods and humans. This androgynous legba was made by Sowanu Ambede. H 59 cm. Code 314. Voodoo pot Lissa. The figure on the lid refers to Lissa, the male half of the creator couple Mawu-Lissa. Various remains of offerings. H 19,5 cm. Code 115. Legba is the cosmic messenger. Symbol of his power is his erection. The presence of Indian traders in Benin (1950) inspired the Vodunsi Sowanu Ambede to create this multi-headed figurine. H 60 cm. Code 316. Voodoo pot Sakpata. The bulges on the pot refer to Sakpata, Vodun of the earth. H 16 cm. Code 101. Voodoo ancestors. The significance of this female and male figure (see next image) is unclear. It is quite possible that they represent mythological ancestors. With traces of offerings. H 26 cm. Code 495. Voodoo ancestors. The significance of this male and female figure (previous image) is unclear. It is quite possible that they represent mythological ancestors. With traces of offerings. H 26 cm. Code 495. Voodoo ritual bowl with nine figurines. With traces of red, white and blue pigment. H 8,5 cm. Diameter 33 cm.. Code 301. Legba is the cosmic messenger in the Vodun religion. Symbol of his power is his erection. His passion must be tempered in order to ensure good communication between gods and humans. This androgynous legba was made by Sowanu Ambede. H 59 cm. Code 314.
Wen Zen: Ritual terracotta from Togo and Benin
Voodoo altar. This altar refers to various gods: the snakes to Dan, the anchor to Hevioso, the arrowheads  to Gun and the minialtar (asen) to ancestors. H 43 cm. Code 496. Voodoo pot Dan. Pot and lid refer to Dan Aido Hwedo, the rainbow snake and Vodun of the cosmos. Diameter 30 cm. H 17 cm. Code 105. Voodoo pot Sakpata. This pot with bulges refers to Sakpata, Vodun of the earth. H 17 cm. Code 108. Sold. Voodoo pot and lid for Dan Aido Hwedo, the cosmic rainbow snake and Tohossu, Vodun of the water. H 19 cm. Code 114. Voodoo ancestor figurine. Statues of this type (see next image) are set in the ground to protect the villagers from evil forces. They have down turned hands. This may indicate protection. H 30 cm. Code 308. Voodoo ancestor figurine. Statues of this type (see previous image) are set in the ground to protect the villagers from evil forces. They have down turned hands. This may indicate protection. H 30 cm. Code 308. Voodoo pot Lissa. The decorations on the lid refer to Lissa, Vodun of strength and all human dealings. The black and red pieces of textile refer to Sakpata, Vodun of the earth. H 16 cm. Code 123. Voodoo pot Dan. The male and a female snake refer to Dan Aido Hwedo, the rainbow snake and the cowrie shells stands for prosperity. The white colour refers to cosmic harmony. H 18 cm. Code 118. Voodoo object Dan. The two snakes refer to Dan Aido Hwedo, the cosmic rainbow snake. It was used for healing rituals. H 8 cm. Code 102.
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Voodoo ancestor figurine for the protection of villagers. H. 25 cm. Code 104. Mamiwata. Three headed figurine. H. 55 cm. SOLD. Vodun female figurine breastfeeding. H. 32 cm. Code 107. Vodun female figurine breastfeeding. H. 33 cm. Code 108.