This magnet features the Taino Symbol for Bebe.
In Taino mythology Bebe represents life and death. Within this image we see a nod to our modern day swaddling practices. Tainos carried their babies on their back, the lines represent the ties used to hold them in place.
The Taino believed that both the living and the dead had a spirit. For the dead, this spirit was called op’a. One way to tell apart the op’a from the living and that was by looking for the person's navel. The Taino believed the dead have no navels.
This interest in navels is especially meaningful if one considers that the navel is the point at which newborns are attached to their mothers. In light of the matrilineal descent customs of the Taino, the navel or physical link to the mother also determined a person's place in the community or society.
We should also note that Tainos mummified their leadership. When caciques were not buried after death, there is evidence to suggest that their bones were used as zemies and that the cacique's spirit came to be regarded as a zemi. The bones, particularly the skull, were converted into zemies by sewing a cotton figure over the skeletal framework, or they would be preserved in reliquary urns.
Size: 2.84" x 3"
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