Simbi: Le trou creuse (Simbi: the true cross) (ceremonial vodou flag) 85.0007
Drapo (ceremonial flags) are important liturgical objects in Haitian vodou. They are considered very sacred and are only brought out at certain times, including during initiation and invocation of the lwa (spirits). They are also often among the most expensive objects owned by an ounfò (vodou temple). Flags for different lwa (spirits) include the appropriate colors and shapes taken from each spirit's vèvè (ceremonial drawing). Incredibly labor-intensive, many master flag makers have workshops and apprentices. Today two types of sequined flags are made in Haiti: those to be used in religious ceremonies, and those that are made specifically for the international art market. This flag is made for the Simbi one of the vodou lwa (spirits). He is patron of the rains and guardian of springs and ponds. Simbi is special in that he has qualities of both the Rada (cool, benevolent) spirits and the Petro (hot, malevolent) spirits. He stands at a crossroads between the two. He is also closely associated with Danbala, the great serpent deity, another of the water lwa (spirits). These ideas are included on the flag through Simbi's vèvè (ritual drawing), which shows a snake in a field with three crosses. Although this flag has a religious subject, the clean border and lack of fringe indicate that it was created for the art market and not for ceremonial use.
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