One of Mãe Nilce de Iansã's childhood memories is hearing her aunt saying over and over again: "We have to get back our things from the police!".
"Do you know what happened to our things that were taken by the police?", her aunt, a Candomblé leader called Mãe Meninazinha de Oxum, would ask other people who visited the terreiro, the place where followers of Afro-Brazilian religions gather to worship.
For a long time, Mãe Nilce says, she did not know what her aunt was referring to. But over the years, she began to hear stories about how, in the past, police officers had stormed their terreiros and seized religious objects.
It was all part of a crackdown dating back to the late 19th Century on what authorities labelled "black magic". The items would be seized to never be seen again by their owner.
Seventy-seven boxes which had been gathering dust at the premises of the police in Rio de Janeiro were transferred to the Museum of the Republic. They contained more than 500 objects of worship seized by the authorities between 1889 and 1945.