Cuban folk crafts

Cuban folk crafts. It is part of the Cuban Traditional Material Culture that encompasses all the skill and manual production, and that not only has utility-type values, but also ornamental, and even ritual. Although the ethnic roots of the People and Cuban culture are varied, Spanish and African roots are fundamental in Traditional Folk Crafts. And there are two main areas that give it a utilitarian and ritual character.


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  • 1 Utilitarian spheres
  • 2 ritual sphere
    • 2.1 Popular religiousness
  • 3 Source

Utilitarian spheres

It has a practical function that goes from the satisfaction of material needs, both domestic or productive and ornamental. In this way, the artistic element can be present in it.

With its logical local differences, it can be found in the following genres: pottery and ceramics , carving , basketry , saddlery , fabrics and embroidery ; carpentry , modeling , metalwork and pyrography .

Examples of these genres:

  • Pottery: Casseroles, jars, porrones, pots, cups, bucaros, vases, etc.
  • Basketry for domestic use: Bomboneras, bucaros, baskets, centerpieces, egg baskets, seamstresses, baskets, etc.
  • Cargo and transport: baskets, baskets and serones.
  • Personal use: hats, jabas, jabas, bags, rugs, etc.
  • Carving: Utility – Pylons, ox yokes, washboards, mortars, ashtrays, etc.
  • Ornamental (woodwork, jar, guiro and cane): Figures of birds or animals, centerpieces, ornaments of all kinds, etc.
  • Fabric (two needles, crochet, etc.): Clothing, bedding, tablecloths, bags, wallets, rugs, etc.
  • Embroidery: Lingerie, women’s clothing, household items, basket, etc.

Ritual sphere

She is related to the practices of religious expressions of African origin in Cuba which have African and Hispanic elements, due to the processes of transculturation and religious syncretism that took place in Cuban culture.

Among these types of ritual practices of African origin can be named the Rule of Ocha or Cuban Santeria, the Palo Monte Rule, the Abakuá Rule, and even that cross-cultural product of Carabali origin that turns out to be the Abakuá Secret Society .

Only in the ritual crafts of the Rule of Ocha is a great variety of genres, materials and techniques found. Examples are as follows:

  • Wood carving of deities to which they worship. Attributes and tools of the orishas (metalwork, carving, carpentry): Tools of the orishas, ​​crowns of saints, axes, etc.
  • Pottery: Casseroles, jars, buckles, tureens, etc.
  • Necklaces and handles: Made with beads of various colors representative of the different orishas.
  • Preparation and ornamentation of pieces of ritual organology: Batá drums, maracas, bells, etc.

The Cuban Traditional Folk Craft is linked to the most genuine creative traditions of the people, so its rescue and revitalization is necessary. It should not be confused, in any way, with commercial-type crafts that have developed in recent times and that in most cases are not based on popular traditions.

Popular religiosity

The Cuban Santeria has been and is not only a means of cultural resistance against the various attacks and hostile catholic and atheist activities from the colonial stage to the present, but at the same time represents an important communication channel, both for the development of the culture of oral tradition of a part of the Cuban people (for the richness of myths, stories, folk medicine, crafts, food, and many others), as for the professional or vocational artistic recreation of its fundamental images (performing, visual and musical arts ).

Santeria, although not a common religious practice throughout the country, has greater roots in the western portion, although in recent decades it has been expanding eastward.

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