Jeggua Meets Shango
Oil on Wood Panel, 48" x 36"
Jeggua, created by Obatalá, was a perfect human being. In isolation, she maintained her innocence and purity. Shango, informed by the trickster god Eshu about the beautiful Jeggua, sought her out. He hid in the gardens until he spotted Jeggua during one of her walks. As she passed by, Shango reached for the beautiful virgin, surprising her from the darkness and causing a single flower petal to flutter upon her head. The mere sight of Shango drove Jeggua to feel love and passion. By laying eyes on Jeggua, Shango took away her innocence. What followed was possibly only a kiss, but she ran and confessed to her father, feeling guilty that she had broken her vow of chastity. For this infraction, Obatalá sent Jeggua to the Underworld where she remains in solitude, while serving as its guardian.
The story of Jeggua, an orisha not widely known in Lucumí, introduces the origin of shame. She is generally depicted clothed and fully covered to hide such feelings. Rosales’s painting, with a nude Jeggua, pinpoints the pivotal moment of the orisha’s disgrace.
ExhibitionsGarden of Eve