Chico Tabibuia (1936 - 2007)

Casal de Saci Pererê com duas cobras
Saci Pererê Couple with Two Snakes

height: 104cm
width: 30cm

Donated by Paulo Pardal 2002


This piece is one in a large number of woodcarvings by Chico Tabibuia that are sculpted from individual tree trunks. He obtains the subject matter of his works from his own dreams, using this ritual process as his only working method. The sculptures impersonate deities or orixas from the Umbanda pantheon with large sexual attributes, which makes them both erotic and sacred. He also follows his dreams to choose the gender for his pieces, which might change if the dream so indicates, even after he has worked on a figure.

Casal de Saci Pererê com duas cobras seems a recreation of the myth of Adam and Eve, the archetypical couple, forefathers of all creation, here accompanied by not one but two snakes. The ensemble is a tight composition of interlocking forms in which one figure seems to merge with the other, carved out of the same section of wood. The male figure has a pointed head and cloven feet; his enormous phallus, trademark of all Tabibuia's sculptures, imbues the figure with supra-natural qualities of fertility. The female figure presents blocky feet and small breasts. Her sexual attributes are symbolised by a slit in the wood. The title of the piece suggests a link to Saci Pererê. According to popular belief dating back to the late 18th century, Saci Pererê is an elusive spirit of the forest, to blame for the disappearance of objects. He remains a very popular mythical entity among Brazilian people, represented as a little one-legged man smoking a pipe and wearing a red cap that gives him magic powers.

Gabriela Salgado, 2005

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