Tuesday, September 21, 2010

hunting the witch doctor

The following links and thoughts are related to the research I need to create a convincing witch doctor's hut. I believe that the film is looking to set the hut in the Caribbean. So, I need to learn more about what exactly "witch doctors" are. Find out more about the medicine they practice, their beliefs and symbols tied to their practices and of course the basics such as what types of buildings thy live in and what the environment looks like.

wiki-knowledge often a good starting place, it will give you the basic knowledge you need to get started-- never a totally accurate resource

This site, however is a little more promising.
This site starts to get into the history of Voodoo and how it was a religion brought overseas by the movement of Africans to America through the slave trade. She mentions that "Nigeria and Dahomey" are two of the most common locations they were brought from. So that means I'll be looking into their cultures for some aesthetic clues for the set.

Here is an image of the royal bini mask from Nigeria. A well recognized traditional mask.

 Here's a site with some interesting information about voodoo symbols: http://altreligion.about.com/od/symbols/ig/Vodoun-Veves/
The symbol on the left is supposedly for a demon/god named "Damballah-Wedo," no information on what this particular god is meant to do, but the design is nice, so I'll probably end up scribbling it on something. The symbol on the right is for "Legba." Quoted from the site, "Legba is the gatekeeper to the spirit world, known as Vilokan.Legba is also strongly associated with the sun and is seen as a life-giver [...]His association with creation, generation and life makes him a common lwa (spirit) to approach with matters of sex, and his position as a conduit of Bondye's will makes him a lwa of order and destiny.Finally, Legba is a lwa of the crossroads, and offerings are often made there for him. His symbol is the cross, which also symbolizes the intersection of material and spiritual worlds." Pretty cool, if you ask me :)

And now let's take a look at Nigerian and Dahomey huts: The first and second are my favorites.

Not a  bad start! But I'm going to hold off on doing too much more research until I get a chance to talk to the director. Who knows what they might actually be looking for.

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