¡Sabor de Borinquen!
THIS MUSEUM IN THE MOUNTAINS of central Puerto Rico gets its name and shape directly from its subject. The three-pointed stone shape is a cemi, an important spiritual object among the Taíno, an indigenous people of the Caribbean region. The El Cemi Museum in Jayuya showcases cemis and other Taíno artifacts in its unusually-shaped home.
For the Taíno, each cemi is a deity or ancestral spirit housed in a sculptural object. The carvings bring the spirit to life. Cemis were made of stone and other materials, and though designs vary, the three-pointed form is a common element. Scholars believe that the cemi’s shape was inspired by the Tres Picachos (Three Peaks) mountain, which the Taíno held sacred. The central point represents a mountain peak—home to Yaya, the Creator. The mouth-like point represents Coabey, the land of the dead. The final point represents the land of the living.