religious artifacts from the Kongo Kingdom and from Jamaica.

Instructions: below you will find images of religious artifacts from the Kongo Kingdom and from Jamaica. Choose an artifact to discuss—a crucifix, a statue, a saintly image, a rosary, a sacred object, etc follow the instructions in the attachments open and use the powerpoint ” assignment 2 review” ill attach below for this assignment.


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Christ on the cross- small bronze artifact from the Kongo Kingdom
Statue of Saint Anthony from the Kongo Kingdom
Crucifix with Jesus’ image depicted as skeleton from modern Congo, Africa
Bronze small artifact- statue of Saint Beatriz from the Kongo Kingdom
Obeah statuary– figures that represent spirits who intercede in ritual from Jamaica
Skull candle, alcohol, and other offerings as part of Obeah ritual from Jamaica
Ornaments, perfumes, candles, food in jars, alcohol, and other offerings as part of Obeah ritual from
Voodoo doll from Haiti
Voodoo ritual with women in white- Haiti
Above, you will find images of religious artifacts from the Kongo Kingdom and from Jamaica.
Choose an artifact to discuss—a crucifix, a statue, a saintly image, a rosary, a sacred object, etc.
A) Write 1-3 sentences on the one particular artifact in the group of images that interests you
B) Write a paragraph (10-12 sentences) about what this artifact tells us about how Kongolese
Africans or Caribbean peoples of African descent engaged with the World of the Spirit
C) Find another image online of a Christian religious object from Africa or an Obeah religious object
from Jamaica and discuss why you find it interesting. The object can be anything—a necklace, a
cooking pot, a church pew, a chalice, a cross, an altar, a priest’s robe, an obeah man’s hat, a bible, or
anything that is an object from African Christianity or Jamaican Obeah. Write a short paragraph
(6-7 sentences) on why you chose this object and what its meaning is using vocabulary and discussion
points we raised in class.
AFR 204
Kingdom of Kongo
Located in what is now Angola and Congo
The Kongo people spoke Kikongo and were ruled
by a series of kings and warring king relations
Their European trading partners were the
? Portuguese
bought millions of slaves and brought them
? Introduced Roman Catholicism to the Kongolese
Kongo Slave Trade
Congo Slave Trade
Estimated ~5 million slaves taken from Kongo
Kingdom (Congo-Angola region) between 17001900
On ~7,839 voyages
Christianity in Kongo Kingdom
In 1491, King Nzinga converted to Christianity
and urged the Kongo nobility and peasant classes
to follow suit.
the Kongo kingdom remained Christian for the
next 200 years.
From ~1500 onwards, the pope accepted the
Kongo kingdom’s faith as orthodox
Christianity in Kongo Kingdom
Between ~1500-1700, the Kongo kingdom was one
of the largest in sub-Saharan Africa during this
period; spanning over 115,000 square miles
It had a highly centralized monarchy as well as a
powerful noble class
The urban nobility sustained its luxurious lifestyle
through a heavy tax system levied on the rural
peasant class.
Taxes or tribute from the rural areas included: copper,
salt, wild animal products (hides, ivory, meat), and, most
importantly, slaves
? Conversion to Christianity solidified trading relationships
Christianity in Kongo Kingdom
– Political infighting and aggressive rival states began
to cause the Kongo Kingdom to disintegrate by ~1700
– By the turn of the eighteenth century, the Kongo
capital Mbanza Kongo (also known as São Salvador)
had been abandoned and the kingdom had broken
up into small territories ruled by warlords and
members of the old Kongo nobility.
– In 1704, Dona Beatriz de Kimpa Vita fell ill and
claimed to be “possessed” by the spirit of Saint

She claimed to be a prophet, speaking for Saint Anthony,
who addressed the kingdom’s problems through her.
Christianity in Kongo Kingdom
Up until 1700, Kongo’s Christianity was indeed
orthodox, or Roman Catholic.
A famous revival movement was led by Dona
Beatriz Kimpa Vita in the 18th century.
? Dona
Beatriz introduced ‘Antonianism,’ a sect based
on St. Anthony as the source for Kongo salvation.
Dona Beatriz de Kimpa Vita
She was trained as an nganga marinda, an
individual who consults the supernatural world to
solve problems within the community.
She communicated that she had a revelation that
the Holy Family (Mary, Joseph, and Jesus) were
Syncretic Christian new religious movement formed
from 1704-1706
Beatriz Kimpa Vita- possessed by St. Anthony of
Beatriz became known for healing and other
Eventually suppressed by King Pedro IV of Kongo
and Dona Beatriz was burned at the stake as a
Dona Beatriz de Kimpa Vita invented
She claimed Jesus was born in Mbanza Kongo and
baptized not at Nazareth but in Nsundi in
northern Congo, while Mary’s mother was a slave
of the Kongo nobleman Nzimba Mpangi.
Dona Beatriz also created new versions of the Ave
Maria and Salve Regina in the Kongolese
She recognized the pope, but was hostile to
missionaries, who were corrupt and unsympathetic
to the spiritual needs of Kongolese Catholics.
Dona Beatriz prophesied a new golden age to her
followers, one that would follow the end of
European presence in the Kongo. European
treasures would be found around the Kongo
capital city of Mbanza Kongo by her followers,
and trees would turn to silver and gold.
Dona Beatriz was thus a PROPHET as well as a
Dona Beatriz de Kimpa Vita
In 1706, Dona Beatriz was captured by King
Pedro II and burned as a heretic at the behest of
Capuchin monks.
The Caribbean in the age of slavery
During the colonial period, the arrival of sugar culture
deeply impacted the Caribbean.
It not only dramatically increased the ratio of slaves to free
men, but it increased the average size of slave plantations.
Early sugar plantations made extensive use of slaves
because sugar was considered a cash crop that was most
efficiently grown on large plantations with many workers
In 1680, an average-size plantation in Barbados had 60
slaves. Over the decades, the sugar plantations became
larger and larger.
In 1832, the median-size plantation in Jamaica had about
150 slaves, and nearly one of every four bondsmen lived
on units that had at least 250 slaves
The Caribbean in the age of slavery
Haiti (Saint Domingue) and Jamaica were the two most
profitable and deadly colonies in the Caribbean
? In the 1740s, Jamaica and Haiti became the world’s main
sugar producers
? Jamaica imported 575,000 African captives in the eighteenth
century, but by 1817 had only increased its slave population
by 250,000 (so an estimated death rate of around 50%)
? Death rates of slaves in Haiti was also ~ 50%
? Slave labor is primarily used to make SUGAR
? And, by extension, m olasses and RUM
Luanda, the capital of the Portuguese trading partner
of Kongo-Angola, imported the greatest amount of
alcohol from the Caribbean
? Of the nearly 1.2 million captives shipped from this
port town during 1710-1830 alone, 33% have been
estimated as purchased through the importation of
alcoholic drinks
? Aristocrats and coastal businessmen would use rum
and alcohol as currency– sharing it with business
partners and exchanging it for other goods and
“An Interior View of a Jamaica House of Correction”. A scene from the Apprenticeship
Period (1834-38), just after the Great Slave Revolt
Slavery and the Global Culture of
? Slavery,
colonialism, New World
? High death rates
? White and black
? Death shapes everyday life
Jamaica, Haiti, and the Caribbean
For blacks, death became a way to create a culture
that actually celebrated life by recognizing the
interrelationship between the living and the dead.
? The dead could comfort the living by reminding them
of their humanity in a world that considered them
property and without human value
Slave Culture and Death
Making sense of a New World environment
? Death destabilized communities, kin networks,
marriages, and families
? Spirituality mitigated the effects of death and
RE-STABILIZED black kin networks
Slave songs/negro spirituals
Oh, you may be a white man
White as de dribberlin’ snow
Ef yo’ soul ain’t ankeld in Jesus
To hell you sho’ly go
Also known as Ju-Ju (Bahamas), Voodoo
(Haiti), Santeria (Cuba, Dominica),
Shango (Trinidad)
Ashanti and Igbo origins
“obeah”=dibia or obia, from the Igbo
word for “doctoring”
In the Trinidad and Tobago Obeah
tradition, a “jumbie” is an evil or lost
spirit, related to the Kongo word
“nzumbi,” – the origin of the English
word “zombie”
What is Obeah?
Whites in Jamaica considered Obeah to be
? Poison was considered the main power of “Obeah
But Obeah men were also recognized for healing
Historically, according to Jamaican law, “Obeah”
was “relating to supernatural power,”
“communicating with evil spirits and the devil”
Obeah men and Obeah practitioners were considered to
use: blood, feathers, broken bottles, grave dirt, rum,
eggshells, poisons, herbs, glass, parrots’ beaks, dogs’
teeth, alligator teeth”
What is an Obeah man?
White planters in Jamaica considered Obeah men to
Witches, sorcerers, possessors of poison, instigators of rebellion,
frauds, liars, “dangerous” people
Slave society in Jamaica considered Obeah men to
Manipulators of material objects, controllers of the channels of
supernatural/spiritual forces, healers of illness, bringers of good
fortune, protectors against harm, and assistants in avenging
wrongs and harming others (who deserved it)
1898 portrait of Obeah man
Spirit conjurer
? Mortician
? Community diviner
? Community healer
Black shamans / Obeah men and women drew their
most impressive power from the management of
spirits and death
? Threat to the Jamaican state as white plantocracy
? WHY?
In the minds of planters:
Power in a slave society cannot reside within the
slave society, but with the enslavers
The merging of several originally discrete traditions
Inclusive approach to faith
Haiti and the Global Culture of Death
? Slavery
conditions were especially
brutal in Haiti
? Death rate of slaves was 50%
? Most died of overwork
? Illness
? Malnutrition
? Exhaustion/Dehydration
Voodoo Ritual
? Voodoo
becomes especially
pronounced during the months of
October and November. Fet Gede
(All Souls Day/Halloween) is a
Haitian national holiday
? Celebrated
on November 1 and 2
Voodoo Ritual
? Catholic
? Pray
High Holy Day
for the Souls of the dead
? Haitians
visit cemeteries
? Pray to ancestors
? Offer food, drink, flowers, light
African-Atlantic Spiritual Landscapes
Popular rituals, prayers, and sacrifices
? Born of African and New World experiences
? Influenced by Christianity, Islam, and everyday
realities of life under slavery
Jamaica, Haiti, and the Caribbean

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