CONVERSATIONS ABOUT THE PAST
Levi Jordan Plantation
ON THE OGUN AMULA
Ken Brown has suggested (see his interview and the paper that he wrote with Kris Brown) that the kettles that were buried under the floorboards in the curer's cabin area formed an "Amula", a symbol of the Yoruba god "Ogun". Ogun was a "hard god", a deity of war and iron. "He lives in the flames of the blacksmith's forge, on the battlefield, and more particularly in the cutting edge of iron" (p. 52). (30).
It is worth noting that the cabin area identified as the "blacksmith's cabin" is next door to the cabin area identified at the "curer's cabin" at the Jordan plantation. It is also important to note the period of time in which this deposit was made during and after the Civil War.
See the Kris Brown/Ken Brown paper delivered at the 1998 SHA meetings for some detail on the use of the concepts that follow in interpreting the archaeology of the Jordan Plantation.
| From Flash of the
Spirit, p. 48:
"By 1954 creole transformations had already occurred. The new forms had absorbed Western industrial or cultural fragments the hubcap of an automobile, a metal rooster from a weather vane or discarded garden furniture, store-bought jingle bells and invested them with new meaning..."
and from p. 55:
"Ogun art in Cuba today includes the bucket-shaped iron cauldron (caldero de ogun). Such objects are full of various expressions of ironwork, such as nails, iron bows and arrows, horseshoes, and fetters, thus fusing token pieces of his medium within the programmatic fragments of the amula with an iron cooking vessel, as if to prepare for a mighty broth of iron. Note that the illustrated cauldron for Ogun is tightly wrapped with chains of iron, echoing a major element of the amula. (this picture will be included at some point). The Cuban migration to North America resulted in the establishment of the caldero de ogun tradition in Miami and New York, with fanciful additions, such as shrine in the New York area in 1979 that has a caldero de ogun with an actual pistol."
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‹ Carol McDavid 1998