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The River Goddess Oshun

One of the most stunning prints available on Enchanted Art is an artistic rendering of Oshun, an Afro-Carribean river goddess of water and fertility. In the print, Oshun stands naked with her arms folded across her chest, barely revealing her breasts. Though her posture indicates a hint of shyness, her head boldly faces her audience, and her eyes nearly stare into their souls. Her traditional crown of golden fabric sits majestically upon her head, and four river-like fabric tendrils extend from the jewels that intersect with her third eye. Her wrists are adorned with the thick gold bangles worn by her worshippers, and she holds a decorative fan to demonstrate her love and fascination with all things beautiful. Naturally, her background is filled with symbols of natural beauty. A majestic red parrot flies above her head, and behind her lies a medley of seashells and flowers. The entire piece is painted with warm neutrals and jewel tones, giving it a regal yet inviting ambiance.

This astounding portrait naturally became one of Jessica Galbreth’s most popular works. The print even came with a detailed article on Oshun written in decorative script, informing buyers about the rich history and mythology surrounding the Yoruba goddess. Today, finding an authentic print through re-sellers is a difficult task due to its rarity and popularity.


Background Information

The goddess Oshun comes from the Yoruba people of modern-day Nigeria. In traditional mythology, she is the most powerful of all Yoruba goddesses and is generally associated with purity, water, fertility, sensuality, and love. However, despite her power, she still possesses human flaws such as jealousy and vanity. Most of the stories about Oshun depict her as a protector and nurturer of humanity, and one myth even suggests that she was a central figure in the creation of humanity. However, in most Yoruba mythology, she is known as the favorite wife of Shango, the god of thunder, and she is painted as powerful, giving, and wise – but still flawed like the rest of humanity. In some stories, she floods Earth or causes famines by withholding her water when angered.

Oshun remains an important cultural figure in African, Carribean, and Latin American culture to this day. The Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, contains several shrines and artworks that honor Oshun, and each year, practitioners of the Yoruba religious tradition celebrate a festival in her honor. Worshippers often call upon her for assistance with fertility and during times of famine or poverty.