shells.jpg - 2800 Bytes Historical Museum of Southern Florida Orisha Panos

At the Crossroads
Afro-Cuban Orisha Arts in Miami

PAÑOS

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Paños (cloth panels) are used to gdressh orishas on special occasions, such as religious anniversaries or other spiritual celebrations. In past years in Cuba, many olorishas (priests/priestesses) embroidered their panos, though embroidered silk shawls, imported from Spain, were also quite popular. In Miami paños have developed into a particularly elaborate art form and generally are made by specialists, such as Jorge Ortega and Obdulia Garcia. Fine fabrics, beads, cowries, pearls, rhinestones, and metallic trimmings are all employed to create panos that reflect the colors, natural attributes, totemic animals, and emblems of specific orishas.

Paños are often used to adorn jars that contain ritual objects belonging to orishas. For the most part, their function is ornamental: they are meant to please an orisha and present him or her in an attractive fashion. At other times, the covering of an orisha is recommended by an oracle. Paños are also hung in thrones (altars), where they serve as flags of the orishas.

During wemileres (drumming celebrations), paños are used to dress the orishas who possess olorishas. Typically, a female orisha wears a pano over her shoulders as a type of shawl, while a male orisha wears one tied around his waist. Frequently, orishas pass panos over the bodies of the attendees at a wemilere to cleanse them of any negative energy. Occasionally, an orisha may give a paño away as a present to a special devotee.

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Afro-Cuban Orisha Arts in Miami
The Afro-Cuban Orisha Religion | Orisha Worship in Miami
Orisha Artists | Beadwork | Paños | Garments | Thrones
Herramientas | Music | Ifá Paraphernalia
The Orisha Tradition in Popular Arts
Pantheon of Orishas