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Smithsonian Institution, 
Bureau of American Ethnology, 

Washington, D. C, August 4, 1917. 
Sir: I have the honor to submit herewith the Thirty- 
eighth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Eth- 
nology, for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1917. 

With appreciation of your aid in the work under my 
charge, I am 

Very respectfully, yours, 

F. W. Hodge, 
Ethnologist- in-cha rge . 
Dr. Charles D. Walcott, 

Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. 




Systematic researches 1 

Special researches 13 

Manuscripts 17 

Publications 17 

Illustrations 19 

Library 19 

Collections ? 20 

Property ., 21 

Miscellaneous 21 


An Introductory Study of the Arts, Crafts, and Customs of the Guiana Indians, 

by Walter Edmund Roth 25 






F. W. Hodge, Ethnologist-in-charge 

The operations of the Bureau of American Ethnology 
during the fiscal year ended June 30, 1917, were conducted 
in accordance with the act of Congress approved July 1 
1916, making appropriations for sundry civil expenses of 
the Government, which act contains the following item : 

American ethnology: For continuing etlmological researches among 
the American Indians and the natives of Hawaii, including the ex- 
cavation and preservation of arch^ologic remams, mider the direction 
of the Smithsonian Institution, including necessary employees and 
the purchase of necessary books and periodicals, $42,000. 

In addition to conducting the administrative affairs of the 
bureau, Mr. F. W. Hodge, ethnologist-in-charge, assisted by 
Miss Florence M. Poast, continued the preparation of the 
annotated bibliography of the Pueblo Indians as oppor- 
tunity offered, adding about 1,000 cards to the 3,800 pre- 
viously prepared. 


In April Mr. Hodge proceeded to New Mexico for the 
purpose of making final arrangements with the Zuni Indians 
for the excavation of the ruins of the large pueblo of Hawi- 
kuh, situated on their reservation in the western-central 
part of the State. This having been accomplished, Mr. 
Hodge returned to Washington and in the latter part of May 
again proceeded to Zuiii and established camp at Hawikuh, 
where excavations were immediately commenced under the 
joint auspices of the Bureau of American Ethnology and 


the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, of 
New York City, the latter institution bearing most of the 
expense of the expedition, and assigning Mr. Alanson 
Skinner and Mr. E. F. Coffin to aid in the work. Authority 
for conducting the excavations was courteously granted by 
the Secretary of the Interior. 

The excavation of Hawikuh has as its chief object the 
study of a Zuiii pueblo known to have been inhabited from 
prehistoric times well into the historic period, for the purpose 
of determining, so far as possible, the character and arts of 
the Zuni people in early times, as well as the effect of Spanish 
contact during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 
Hawikuh was one of the famed "Seven Cities of Cibola" of 
early Spanish narrative, and its history from the time of its 
discovery in 1539 until its abandonment in 1670 is quite well 
known. Consequently the information that the ruins may 
be -expected to yield will in all probability shed considerable 
light on a phase of the culture of a branch of the Pueblo 
Indians at an important period in their life. 

It is not necessary in this brief report to present the 
results of the Hawikuh fexcavations, which were successful 
beyond anticipation in both a subjective and an objective 
way. It is expected that a summary report on the work, 
which was still in progress at the close of the fiscal year, will 
be presented for publication in the near future. 

The beginning of the fiscal year found Dr. J. Walter 
Fewkes, ethnologist, engaged in an archeological recon- 
noissance in the vicinity of Gallup, N. Mex. Early in July 
he proceeded to Mancos, Colo., examining ancient ruins en 
route and commencing intensive archeological work in the 
Mesa Verde National Park, where he remained until the close 
of September. These excavations, conducted with the co- 
operation of the Department of the Interior, were in continu- 
ation of the work initiated several years ago of uncovering 
and repairing the remains of the more important prehistoric 
ruins in that great area, thus making them available for 
study and adding to the park's many attractions. 

The scene of Dr. Fewkes's activities during this season 
was one of a cluster of 16 ruins known as the Mummy Lake 


group, situated above Soda Canyon. None of the walls of 
this large ruin projected alcove the surface of the mound of 
fallen building stones and other debris covered with sage- 
brush, but on excavation the remains were shown to be 
those of a rectangular pueblo, 100 by 113 feet, with three 
stories at the north and an annexed court inclosed by a low 
wall on the south. By reason of its commanding situation. 
Dr. Fewkes has named this former pueblo Far View House. 
After clearing the ruin of the great quantity of debris accu- 
mulated during centuries, the tops of the walls of the four 
kivas uncovered were protected with a capping of concrete, 
and so far as means would permit the walls of other cham- 
bers were similarly treated. As a report on Dr. Fewkes's 
work at Far View House will appear shortly,' it is not neces- 
sary to present the details here; but it may be mentioned 
that the most important result of the study of this site is 
the fact that a new type of Mesa Verde structure has been 
revealed, the form and character of which shed light on the 
close relation of pueblos and cliff dwellings. Indeed, Dr. 
Fewkes reports that Far View House is the only known 
example of a pure type of pueblo ever completely excavated, 
the term "pure type" signifying a terraced community 
building constructed of shaped stones and having circular 
kivas united with surrounding rectangular rooms. Other 
significant features are the vaulted roofs of the kivas, the 
supporting beams of which rest on pilasters, and the pres- 
ence of a ventilator and a deflector in each kiva, as in the 
case of certain cliff dwellings. As this pure type of pueblo 
is entirely prehistoric, it may be regarded as representing a 
stage in architectural development between the older stage 
of pueblo structures and the mixed type or modern form in 
which the arrangement of the room« and the art of the 
mason exhibits a retrogression. 

On finishing his work at Far View House Dr. Fewkes vis- 
ited Utah primarily for the purpose of determining the geo- 
graphic distribution of ruins in the northern limits of Pueblo 
culture. This reconnoissance extended to the Uintah Res- 

' " A Mesa Verde Pueblo and its People," Smithsonian Report for 1916, pp. 461-488, 
pie. 1-16, figs. 1-7, Washington, 1917. 


ervation, where hitherto unknown ruins in Hill Canyon, 
near Ouray, were examined and where a number of stone 
towers similar to those along San Juan River were found. 
These ruins, to which Dr. Fewkes's attention was called by 
Mr. Kneale, agent for the Uncompahgre Ute, are especially 
striking owing to their unusual situation on eroded rocks of 
mushroom shape. These towers mark the northernmost 
limit of Pueblo culture in eastern Utah, and some of them 
are especially instructive by reason of their relation to pre- 
historic towers much farther south. An illustrated report 
on these remains, by Dr. Fewkes, has already appeared.^ 

Mr. James Mooney, ethnologist, was engaged in field work 
among the Eastern Cherokee of western North Carolina at 
the opening of the fiscal year, and on his return to Washing- 
ton, August 10, resumed the translation and annotation of 
the Sacred Formulas of the Cherokee, as well as the identifi- 
cation of the plants, etc., used by the tribe in its medicine 
and other rites. Mr. Mooney reports this work to be well 
advanced, but its complicated nature, coupled with the 
author's ill health during the year, has made progress some- 
what slow. Mr. Mooney also spent considerable time in 
supplying information on technical subjects for official 

Dr. John R. Swanton, ethnologist, was occupied chiefly 
with two lines of investigation — the one historical, the other 
philological. In July and August he made a thorough ex- 
amination of the Woodbury Lowery and Brooks collections 
of manuscripts in the Library of Congress bearing on the 
early Spanish history of Florida, finding many important 
items for incorporation in his " Histor\' of the Southeastern 
Tribes." In September Dr. Swanton visited the Newberry 
Library in Chicago, where other valuable earl}^ documents 
were found in the Edward E. Aj^er collection, which sub- 
sequently were copied for the bureau's use by the courtesy 
of the librarian. These latter manuscripts include a report 
on the Indians of Louisiana by Bienville, a Louisiana mem- 
oir with an extended description of the Choctaw, and a 

^ " Archeological Investigationa in New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah," Smithsonian 
Misc. Coll., vol. 68, No. 1, pp. 1-38, May, 1917. 


memoir by the French captain Berenger, containing, besides 
historical and ethnological information, vocabularies of the 
extinct Karankawa and Akokisa tribes. A Spanish census 
of the Indians of Florida after the period of the English 
invasions should also be mentioned. For some months after 
his return Dr. Swanton was engaged in adding to his mono- 
graph the historical notes thus obtained, and in copying 
and translating the more important parts of the manu- 
scripts mentioned, including all of the Berenger memoir. 

Although Dr. Swanton's Histors' of the Southeastern 
Tribes had been completed a year ago, so far as the informa- 
tion was then available, the manuscript discoveries de- 
scribed have enabled him to augment and to improve it 
substantially, and more recently he has obtained some 
supplementary^ notes from the Louisiana Historical Society. 
The preparation of the maps to accompany the monograph, 
chiefl}^ from early sources, did not progress as satisfactorily 
as was hoped, owing largely to pressure of other illustration 
work, but they are now practically finished. 

Dr. Swanton's second paper, also referred to in last year's 
report, remains as then practically complete so far as the 
available material is concerned, but it awaits further data 
respecting the social organization of the Chickasaw and the 
Choctaw. A third paper, on the religious beliefs and medical 
practices of the Creeks and their congeners, has l^een brought 
to the same stage as the last, namely, with all the available 
material incorporated and arranged, and the footnotes added. 

With a view of furnishing the basis of a general study of 
the social organization of the tribes north of Mexico, Dr. 
Swanton spent a few weeks collecting material bearing on 
Indian economic life, but this has been laid aside tempo- 
rarily on account of the greater urgency of a closer com- 
parative study of the Indian languages of the southeastern 
part of the United States, particularly as indications of 
relationship between some of them have already been noted. 
As a basis for this work Dr. Swanton has recorded a com- 
parative vocabulary' of Creek, Choctaw, Alabama, Hitchiti, 
Natchez, Tunica, Chitimacha, Atakapa, Tonkawa, Come- 
crudo, Cotoname, Coahuilteco, and Karankawa. Of these 


languages about 500 words were chosen, but as the lexical 
material from several of the tribes is scanty, the comparison 
can never be complete. It was the intention to follow the 
compilation of this table with a closer comparison of Chiti- 
macha and Atakapa, which show many resemblances, but 
in the course of the work so many more similarities between 
Chitimacha and Tunica presented themselves that these 
were selected instead. In partial furtherance of this re- 
search Dr. Swanton proceeded to Louisiana in May, where 
he remained almost imtil the close of the fiscal year, visiting, 
studying, and photographing the mixed Indian population 
along the gulf coast in La Fourche and Terra Bonne Parishes, 
the Chitimacha at Charenton, and the Koasati northeast 
of Kinder. From the Koasati about 150 pages of native 
text with interlinear translation were recorded, and 134 
pages previously procured from an Alabama Indian in Texas 
were corrected. 

Mr. J. N. B. Hewitt, ethnologist, at the beginning of March 
went to Canada for the purpose of continuing his Iroquois 
studies. Establishing headquarters at Brantfox'd, Ontario, 
he at once undertook the work of revising the extended 
texts relating to the Iroquois League, recorded during former 
field trips. Shortly thereafter this work was interrupted 
when Mr. Hewitt was selected as an official delegate from the 
Council of the Six Nations to attend a condolence and in- 
stallation ceremony at Muncietown, in which he took a 
leading part, requiring the intoning of an address of com- 
forting in the Onondaga language and also in acting the part 
of the Seneca chiefs in such a council. This official recog- 
nition gave Mr. Hewitt the rare opportunity of observing 
how such a ceremony is conducted from an esoteric point 
of view. 

On returning to Brantford, March 16, Mr. Hewitt resumed 
work on the texts pertaining to the league, which necessi- 
tated the reading of the words and the immediate context 
several times to determine their final form. Moreover, it 
was desirable to read the texts over with every informant 
separately in order to obtain a full expression of the inform- 
ant's knowledge or criticism of the work of another. In this 


manner it was possible to study about 70 per cent of the 
texts, and this led, naturally, to the collection of other cor- 
rective or amplifying texts and notes. These aggregate 
502 pages, comprising 42 topics, recorded from rituals re- 
ceived by Shaman Joshua Buck and Chief Abram Charles. 
In addition, Mr. Hewitt recorded in English translation three 
traditions, comprising 45 pages, purporting to relate events 
and to express ideas alleged to have led to the founding of 
the League of the Iroquois, showing naively the birth of the 
idea of human brotherhood and fellowhood in contradistinc- 
tion to mere local tribalism. 

Mr. Hewitt also made important discoveries regarding 
Iroquois social organization, namely, that certain so-called 
clans do not exist outside of the names used to designate 
them. For instance, the " Ball" clan is in reality the Hawk 
clan; the "Hand" clan of the Cayuga is the Gray Wolf clan, 
and the " Potato" clan of that tribe is in fact a Duck clan or 
possibly a Wolf clan. This confusion has been due to popu- 
lar acceptance of a sobriquet for the real name, hence the 
doubt in the last instance between the Duck and the Wolf, 
which it is probable will ultimately be removed. Mr. Hewitt 
was fortunate also in obtaining a set of wooden masks of the 
various wind gods, and also two masks of food gods — eight 
in aU. He also procured the gourd rattle used by the late 
Chief John Buck, a medicine flute, and what was probably 
the last cradle-board with a beaded belt on the reservation. 

On returning from the field early in July, Mr. Hewitt 
undertook at once the editing and copying of the texts of 
some of his material relating to the Iroquois League. Among 
these are the following, chiefly in the Onondaga language: 
(1) The eulogy of the grandsires and founders, one of the 
essential chants in the condolence ritual, in the version used 
by the "father side" of the league; (2) the laws governing 
federal chiefs in intertribal relations; (3) the laws relating to 
mui'der committed by a federal chief; (4) the charge made 
to a newly installed federal chief; (5) the important tradition 
of the Bear-foot episode; (6) the address made at the lodge 
of a deceaset^ federal chief three days after his burial ; and 
(7) the laws relating to the nomination and election of a 


candidate for a federal chief ship. Mr. Hewitt also com- 
menced the translation of the extended "father-side" tradi- 
tion of the founding of the League by the Deganawida and 
his associates, read the available proofs. of Seneca Fiction, 
Legends, and Myths for the Thirty-second Annual Report, 
and supplied numerous technical data for use in responses 
to inquiries by correspondents. 

Mr. Francis La Flesche, ethnologist, when not engaged in 
field work, was occupied in assembling his notes on the Osage 
Indians, the greater portion of which consists of phono- 
graphic records taken from men versed in the tribal rituals, 
which evidently were composed for the preservation and 
transmission of the religious concepts of the tribe. Three 
forms are used in their construx;tion, namely, recitation, 
song, and dramatic action. The spoken parts, called " wigie," 
are intoned by the masters of ceremony and by male mem- 
bers of the various gentes of the tribe who have memorized 
them. These wigie tell of the genesis of the tribe; they 
recount the stories of the adoption of life symbols and 
explain their significance, and narrate the finding and selec- 
tion of the materials used in making the ceremonial para- 
phernalia. The songs used by the master of ceremonies, 
with the aid of a few chosen assistants, make the emotional 
appeal to the various symbols employed in the ritual. Cere- 
monial acts, processions, and dances accompany some of the 
songs and wigie. 

The theme of these composite rites is the desire of the 
people for a long, peaceful life and a never-ending line of 
descendants, and the wigie, songs, and dramatic acts con- 
stitute a supplication to the unseen power for aid toward the 
realization of this desu-e. The never-ending life so devoutly 
sought for the tribe seemed to the people to be exemplified 
in the unfailing recurrence of night and day, in the constancy 
of the movements of the heavenly bodies, in the manifesta- 
tion of a like desire among the living forms upon the earth, 
and this to point to an ever-present unseen animating power 
to which the people must appeal for the granting of their 
prayers. In this appeal for never-ending life the Osage 


naturaUy personified, and to a degree deified, those objects to 
which, as he thought, the unseen power had granted this 
form of life. Among these he included the vast space 
within which the heavenly bodies mysteriously moved and 
into which all living forms are born and exercise their func- 
tions. Thus all aspects of nature are made to play a part 
in the great drama of life as presented in these rituals. 

Early in the year Mr. La Flesche finished transcribing the 
wfgie, as well as his notes on two complete versions and a 
portion of a third version of the Child-naming rituals, com- 
prising 107 typewritten pages. On completing this task he 
undertook the translation of the Osage personal names in 
current use and of arranging them by gentes. The Osage 
generally cling tenaciously to the ancient custom of cere- 
monially naming their children in the belief that the cere- 
monies aid the young in attaining old age. In this work 
Mr. La Flesche was able to determine that many members 
of the Osage tribe enrolled as full bloods are in reality of 
mixed blood. The tabulation of these names by sex and 
gentes, with their translations, together with a transcription 
of some characteristic tales, occupies 201 typewritten pages. 

During the last four months of the fiscal year Mr. La 
Flesche was engaged in assembling his notes on the Fasting 
ritual of the Tsizhu Washtage gens. Most of the songs are 
quite different from those belonging to the Fasting rituals 
of the Honga, while some of the wigie are the same, these 
being used in common with slight modifications among the 
different gentes. These Fasting rituals cover 139 completed 
pages, including the music. 

A wfgie was obtained by Mr. La Flesche from an old 
woman during his visit to the Osage in January, 1917. This 
wfgie, which consists of 8 pages, fills a hiatus in the rush-mat 
ceremony previously recorded. 

At the opening of the fiscal year Dr. Truman Michelson, 
ethnologist, was engaged in continuing his studies among 
the Sauk and Fox Indians of Iowa, the main work accom- 
plished being the phonetic restoration of a long text, written 
in the current syllabary, on the origin of the White Buffalo 

60160"— 24 2 


dance, intended for publication as a bulletin of the bureau. 
Considerable information pertaining to a number of sacred 
bundles of the Fox Indians was obtained, as well as various 
data of a sociological nature. Nearly 300 personal names were 
recorded, together with the names of the gentes to which their 
owners belonged; in this manner about nine-tenths of the 
population of the Fox Indians has been catalogued. 

About the middle of August Dr. Michelson proceeded to 
Oklahoma where, with the cooperation of the Illinois Cen- 
tennial Commission, he conducted researches among the 
Peoria. The ethnology of this tribe, properly speaking, has 
practically vanished, but their language and folklore still 
persist, though knowledge thereof is confined to only a few 
individuals. Contrary to ordinary belief, the Peoria lan- 
guage, phonetically, is extremely complicated. From notes 
left by the late Dr. A. S. Gatschet, it had been inferred that 
the Peoria belongs fundamentally with the Chippewa or 
Ojibwa group of central Algonquian languages, and this was 
fuUy confirmed. It is quite clear, however, that there has 
been another and rtiore recent association with the Sauk, 
Fox, and Kickapoo group, and Peoria folklore and mythology 
also point to this double association. The system of con- 
sanguinity is clearly that of the Sauk, Fox, and Kickapoo 
group, rather than that of the Ojibwa. Dr. Michelson 
recorded, mostly in English, an almost exhaustive collection 
of Peoria folktales and myths. 

After devoting about a month's time to the Peoria, Dr. 
Michelson returned to Iowa and renewed his work among 
the Sauk and Fox by making a phonetic restoration of a 
number of texts on minor sacred packs pertaining to the 
\Vhite Buffalo dance, as well as by recording 200 pages of the 
extremely long myth of the Fox culture hero. Most of the 
ceremonies in connection with the presentation of a new dnim 
of the so-called religious dance of the Potawatomi of Wis- 
consin were witnessed, as also were parts of a number of 
clan feasts. 

On returning to ^^'ashington in November Dr. Michelson 
commenced the revision of the English translation of the 
texts relating to the White Buffalo dance, and devoted atten- 


tion also to paragraphing and punctuating the Indian origi- 
nals for the purpose of making them correspond with the 
English equivalents. By the close of the year the English 
translations were typewritten and put in almost final shape, 
while little work remained to complete the editing of the 
native texts. 

Mr. J. P. Han-ington, ethnologist, spent the entire .year in 
continuation of his intensive study of the Chumashan tribes 
of California, obtaining a large body of important informa- 
tion which at present is in various stages of elaboration and 
which will comprise about 1,200 typewritten pages. From 
the beginning of the fiscal year until September 15 Mr. Har- 
rington devoted his attention to the Purismeiio dialect, the 
existing vocabularies being corrected by the informant, and 
many new words and gi-ammatical forms added. The next 
three weeks were spent on the Obispeiio with satisfactory 
results, inasmuch as the material obtained in former years 
was more than doubled. The sole informant's feeble health 
made the recording of this material unusually difficult, but 
it will prove to be of gi'eat local as well as of general interest. 
The remainder of the fiscal year was devoted to Ventureiio 
and Ineseno. While not so nearly lost as Obispeho, it is too 
late to obtain complete information on these dialects, but in 
the process of their study many important points have been 
determined. It is largely from their study that the pictm'e 
of former Chumashan life must be reconstructed. 

The study of the material culture of the Chumashan tribes 
has not been neglected, and in this work archeological mate- 
rial has been of assistance. Among the important points 
determined are details concerning the making of the ancient 
deerskin dress of the women, which consisted of a large back 
flap and a smaller apron. 

From the beginning of the fiscal year to the middle of Jan- 
uai-y, 1917, Dr. Leo J. Frachtenberg, special ethnologist, was 
engaged in field work in the State of Washington, where he 
devoted special attention to the Quileute Indians and to col- 
lecting additional linguistic and mythological material. The 
ethnologic investigations covered the subjects of history and 
distribution, manufacture, houses and households, clothing 


and ornaments, subsistence, travel and transportation, war- 
fare, games, and pastimes, social organization and festivals, 
social customs, religion, medicines, charms and current be- 
liefs, and art, and the recorded results consist of 577 manu- 
script pages. In addition. Dr. Frachtenberg recorded 156 
native songs, including words and translations; he also ob- 
tained several hundred native drawings illustrating the 
material culture of the Quileute, and photogi-aphed a like 
number of ethnologic specimens. Furthermore, he mate- 
rially added to his linguistic and ethnologic studies of this 
people, commenced during the preceding year, by collecting 
several thousand additional gi-ammatical forms and phrases, 
and by recording 22 new. native traditions with interlinear 
translations, and three stories in English. These texts, in 
the form of field notes, comprise 176 pages. While engaged 
in this field work Dr. Frachtenberg was instrumental in in- 
ducing Mrs. Martha Washburn of Neah Bay, Mr. and Mrs. 
Theo. R. Rixon of Clallam Bay, and Mrs. Fannie Taylor of 
Mora, to give to the National Museum a part of then- collec- 
tions of Makah and Quileute specimens, including two old 
totem poles, approximately 100 baskets, and more than 30 
other ethnologic specimens. In addition to the Quileute 
studies mentioned. Dr. Frachtenberg collected 88 pages of 
Makah (Nootka) linguistic data, 57 pages of Quinault (Salish), 
and 18 pages of Clallam (Lkungen). ^^Iiile in Portland, 
Oreg., he obtained through the courtesy of the municipal 
authorities a fine collection of photographs representing sev- 
eral hundred archeological objects owned by the city. 

Dr. Frachtenberg returned to Washington early in Feb- 
ruary. Subsequently, after conference with Dr. Franz Boas, 
honorary philologist of the bureau, it was arranged that Dr. 
Frachtenberg prepare for the Handbook of American Indian 
Languages comparative sketches of the Kalapuya, Molala, 
Klamath, and Quileute, and possibly one of the Salish lan- 
guages. He also engaged in the final preparation of his 
paper Alsea Texts and Myths, which is now in process of 
printing as Bulletin 67. He next proceeded to prepare for 
publication the results of his earlier investigations of the 
language, ethnology, and mythology of the Kalapuya 


Indians, which will consist of two papers: A Grammatical 
Sketch of the Kalapuya Languages and Kalapuya Myths 
and Texts. The Kalapuya grammatical material consists 
of extended field notes gathered in 1913 and 1914, and of 
grammatical notes on the Atfalati collected by Dr. Gatschet 
in 1877. Dr. Gatschet's material, comprising 421 pages of 
field notes, is of inestimable value ; indeed it is to the efforts 
of this untiring scholar that we owe the preservation of this 
most important dialect of the Kalapuya language, since he 
obtained his material, which includes also some valuable 
ethnologic data, from the last full-blood Atfalati. Dr. 
Frachtenberg's own material comprises several thousand 
grammatical forms, phrases, and vocables, and 32 native 
texts with interlinear translation — 630 pages in all. The 
preparation of these linguistic data, as well as the work on 
the Kalapuya myths and texts, is well under way. Six of 
the texts, comprising 36 pages, have been prepared for pub- 
lication; five of these are provided with interlineai' trans- 
lation and with voluminous notes in which attention is 
dh-ected to the occuiTence of similar myths among other 
tribes. During his studies of the Kalapuya languages Dr. 
Frachtenberg discovered that there is sufficient reason to 
believe that the Kalapuya, Takelman, and Chinookan lan- 
guages are genetically related, the determination being based 
not only on lexical but also on structural and morphological 
material. This discovery tends to establish a connecting 
link between some of the languages of California and most 
of the languages spoken in Oregon. 

Durmg the last two weeks of the fiscal year Dr. Frachten- 
berg was temporarily detailed for special work in the Bureau 
of Investigation of the Department of Justice. 


Dr. Franz Boas, honorary philologist, completed the prepa- 
ration of his manuscript on the ethnology of the Kwakiutl 
Indians, about 2,700 pages of which was submitted to the 
bureau and assigned as the accompanying paper of the 
Thirt}^-fifth Annual Report, the composition of which was 
commenced before the close of the fiscal vear. At the same 


time progress was made on the preparatory- work for the 
second part of the memou-. Under Dr. Boas's direction Miss 
Mildred Downs listed the incidents of the Kwakiutl mythol- 
ogy preparatory to a discussion of the subject, and necessary 
additional information for this purpose was obtained from 
Mr. George Hunt, of Fort Rupert, Vancouver Island. Mr. 
Hunt submitted in all 460 pages of manuscript in response 
to questions, and sent botanical specimens that have been 
identified through the kindness of Dr. N. L. Britton, director 
of the New York Botanical Garden. 

The manuscript for Bulletin 59, Kutenai Tales, has been 
completed. All the texts having been set up during the 
preceding year, the abstracts and comparative notes, re- 
ferring to the pages of the bulletin, were written out (32 
pages of printed matter), and a vocabulary (140 pages of 
manuscript) based on the text was prepared. 

For the second part of the Handbook of American Indian 
Languages, Dr. Frachtenberg sul^mitted his sketch of the 
Alsea grammar, which will he prepared for puljlication as 
soon as a sufficient numbei of texts are available. Con- 
siderable progress has been made in the preparation of the 
Kutenai grammar. Owing to the impossibility of com- 
municating with Mr. Bogoras in Russia, no progress has been 
made in proof reading the Chukchee grammar, which has 
been in type for more than three years, but which can not be 
completed • without suljmitting the proofs to the author. 
During the year, however, Dr. Boas revised the Eskimo 
texts by Mr. Bogoras, for which a brief ethnological introduc- 
tion has been written by Dr. Ernest Hawkes. 

The results of the extended field work of Mr. James Teit, 
made possible through the generosity of Mr. Homer E. Sar- 
gent of Chicago, are nearing completion. At the present 
time two manuscripts are well advanced. One of these, 
consisting of about 1,000 pages, prepared jointly by Dr. 
Boas and Dr. H. K. Haeberlin, was submitted in May, accom- 
panied with a number of maps showing the distribution of 
Salishan dialects at various periods. It consists of a discus- 
sion of the characteristics of the various dialectic groups, 
comparative vocabularies on which the deductions are based, 


and a few simple texts. The material on which these studies 
ai"e founded was collected from field expeditions by Dr. Boas 
between 1886 and 1900, and by additional material gathered 
by Mr. Teit between the latter date and the present year. 

Dr. Haeberlin has also undertaken to discuss the Salishan 
basketry, for which purpose he has made detailed studies 
of various collections in the United States and Canada. In 
connection with this and other necessary researches on the 
Salishan tribes. Dr. Haeberlin visited British Columbia and 
Washington in 1915, and again in June, 1917, for the purpose 
of obtaining additional material. These expeditions were 
also made possible by the generosity of Mr. Sargent. 

In his investigations Dr. Boas has had the valued help of 
Miss H. A. Andrews and Miss Mildred Downs. 

In behalf of the bureau, Mr. W. H. Holmes, of the National 
Museum, visited New York, Boston, and Cambridge, for 
the purpose of stud>-ing archeological material in the mu- 
seums of those cities in connection with the completion of 
Bulletin 60, Handbook of American Antiquities, part 1 of 
which is in type. The proof i-eading of this publication was 
well in hand at the close of the fiscal year. 

The study of Indian music, undertaken l)y Miss Frances 
Densmore several years ago under the auspices of the bureau, 
was successful^ continued through the year. The proof 
reading of Bulletin 61, Teton Sioux Music, was brought to 
completion. A second season of field work was devoted 
to the Ute Indians, sufficient data being obtained to complete 
a work on the music of that tribe. Of this material 73 new 
songs were transcribed and anal.vzed, 23 songs previously 
recorded were likewise analyzed, and 5 songs also pi'eviously 
submitted with anal^^ses were further studied. Five group 
analyses, together with about 30 pages of manuscript de- 
scription, were prepared. All except about 15 Ute records 
are now ready for publication; these cover a considerable 
variety of songs, analyses of which show important differ- 
ences from songs of other tribes, one peculiarity being an 
added importance of rhythm. 

For purposes of comparison, Miss Densmore undertook 
on her own account a study of primitive Slovak music, 10 


songs of which were analyzed by the method employed in 
connection with Indian songs, and these were found to con- 
tain interesting points of difference. 

Through the courtesy of Dr. Dayton C. Miller, of the Case 
School of Applied Science in Cleveland, Miss Densmore 
procured graphic evidence of peculiarities of drum and voice 
combination noted by ear in Indian music. Dr. Miller 
made two photographs, about 30 feet in length, each repre- 
senting about 15 seconds' duration of sound. It is the inten- 
tion to utilize part of these as illustrations in the forthcom- 
ing bulletin on Ute music, the songs photographed being 
Ute dance songs with strong rh5rthmic peculiarities. 

Earl}' in June Miss Densmore proceeded to the White 
Earth Reservation, Minnesota, for the purpose of conduct- 
ing a study of the material culture of the Chippewa Indians, 
and at the close of the year good progress was reported. 

Mr. D. I. Bushnell, jr., continued the preparation of the 
manuscript for the Handbook of Aboriginal Remains East 
of the Mississippi, about 50,000 words being added to the 
material previously furnished, not including a portion that 
was rewritten as a result of a discoveiy of new and valuable 
information pertaining to certain localities. Introductions 
to the archeology of various States remain to be wiitten, 
but it is believed that both the manuscript and the illustra- 
tions for the entire bulletin will be completed before the 
close of the fiscal year 1918. 

Under the joint auspices of the bureau and the National 
Museum Dr. A. Hrdlicka visited in October, 1916, a site at 
Vero, Fla., at which were found certain human remains 
reputed to be of great antiquity. As a summary account 
of Dr. Hrdlicka's observations has already appeared in 
Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections (vol. 66, no. 17, pp. 
24-29, 1917) and an extended report will be published in 
Bulletin 66 of the bureau, now in press, it need only be men- 
tioned that a thorough inquir}- has resulted decisively 
against the assumption of great antiquity of the remains. 
The potteiy and the bone and stone objects found in asso- 
ciation with the human burials are identical with similar 
artifacts of the Florida and other southeastern Indians, 


while the bones themselves without exception exhibit mod- 
ern features, with numerous characteristics that permit their 
identification as purely Indian. 

Owing to the fact that Dr. A. L. Kroeber, of the Univer- 
sity of California, found it expedient to elaborate certain 
portions of his handbook of the Indians of California, it was 
not practicable to submit the entire manuscript before the 
close of the fiscal year, but at this writing there is every 
prospect that the work will be ready for publication within 

a short time. 


The following manuscripts, exclusive of those submitted 
for publication, were received by the bureau : 

Photostat copy of a San Bias vocabulary, recorded by Ensign 
J. M. Creighton, United States Navy, transmitted to the Smith- 
sonian Institution by the Secretary of the Navy. 

Philippine songs presented by Mr. E. H. Hammond, of Albu- 
querque, N. Mex. 

Photograph of a picture writing on elk skin by Washakie, the 
Shoshoni chief, with a key thereto. 

Reports on prehistoric ruins in Arizona, with numerous photo- 
gi'aphs, prepared by the late S. J. Holsinger, of the General Land 
Office, and deposited in the bureau by the United States Forest 

Abnaki liymns from John Tahamont, of Pierreville, Quebec, pre- 
sented by George G. Heye, Esq. 


The editing of the publications of the bureau was con- 
tinued through the year by Mr. J. G. Gurley, assisted as oc- 
casion required by Mrs. Frances S. Nichols. The status of 
the publications is presented in the following summary : 


Thirty-first ^Vnnual Report. Accompanying paper: Tsimshian 
Mythology (Boas). 

Coos, An Illustrative Sketch, separate (Frachtenberg), Bulletin 40, 
part 2 (Boas). 

Bulletin 55, Etlmobotany of the Tewa Indians (Robbins, Harring- 
ton, Freire-Marreco). 

I<ist of Publications of the Bureau. 



Thirty-second Annual Report. Accompanying paper: Seneca 
Fiction, Legends, and Myths (Hewitt and Curtin). 

Tliirty-third Annual Report. Accompanying papers: (1) Uses of 
Plants by the Indians of the Nebraska Region (Gilmore); (2) Pre- 
liminary Accoimt of the Antiquities of the Region between the 
Mancos and La Plata Rivers in Southwestern Colorado (Morris); (3) 
Designs on Preliistoric Hopi Pottery (Fewkes); (4) The Hawaiian 
Romance of Laie-i-ka-wdi (Beckwith). 

Thirty-fourth Annual Report. Accompanying paper: An Intro- 
ductory Study of the Arts, Crafts, and Customs of the Guiana Indians 

Thirty-fifth Aimual Report. Accompanying paper: Ethonology of 
the Kwakiutl Indians (Hunt, edited by Boas). 

Bulletin 59, Kutenai Tales (Boas). 

Bulletin 60, Handbook of Aboriginal American Antiquities. Part 1 , 
Introductory: The Lithic Industries (Holmes). 

Bulletin 61, Teton Sioux Music (Densmore). 

Bulletin 63, Analytical and Critical Bibliography of the Tribes of 
Tierra del Fuego and Adjacent Territory (Cooper). 

Bulletin 64, The Maya Indians of Southern Yucatan and Northern 
British Honduras (Gann). 

Bulletin 65, Archeological Explorations in Northeastern Arizona 
(Kidder and Guernsey). 

Bulletin 66, Recent Discoveries of Remains Attributed to Early 
Man in America (Hrdli6ka). 

Bulletin 67, Alsea Texts and Myths (Frachtenberg). 

The distribution of publications has been continued under 
the immediate charge of Miss Helen Munroe and at times by 
Mr. E. L. Springer, of the Smithsonian Institution, assisted 
during the first part of the year by Miss Lana V. Schelski, and 
latterly by Miss Ora A. Sowersby, stenographer and type- 
writer. Notwithstanding conditions incident to the war and 
the consequent necessity of withholding the transmission of 
various foreign shipments, publications were distributed as 
follows : 


Annual reports and separates 5, 954 

Bulletins and separates 5, 804 

Contributions to North American Ethnology and separates. 28 

Introductions 7 

Miscellaneous publications 191 

Total : 11,984 



Mr. DeLancey Gill, with the assistance of Mr. Albert E. 
Sweeney, continued the preparation of the illustrations re- 
quired for the publications of the bureau and devoted the 
usual attention to photographing visiting Indians. The re- 
sults of this work may be summarized as follows : 

Photograpluc prints for distribution and office use 578 

Negatives of ethnologic and archeologic subjects 173 

Negative films developed from field exposures 214 

Photostat prints from books and manuscripts 950 

Drawings made . .. 54 

Mounts used 62 

Portrait negatives of visiting Indians (Creek 9, Arapaho 4, 

Cheyenne 16) . 29 

Negatives retouched 75 

Illustration proofs examined at Government Printing Office.. 9, 000 
Illustrations submitted for reproduction and engraver's proofs 

edited 781 


The reference library of the bureau continued in the im- 
mediate care of Miss Ella Leary, librarian, assisted by Mr. 
Charles B. Newman. During the year 435 books were acces- 
sioned, of which 97 were purchased, 286 acquired by gift or 
exchange, and 52 by the entry of newly bound volumes of 
periodicals previously received. In addition the bureau ac- 
quired 388 pamphlets. The aggregate number of books in 
the librarj^ at the close of the year was 21,750; of pamphlets, 
about 13,848. In addition there are many volumes of un- 
bound periodicals. Several new periodicals were added to 
the exchange list and about 50 defective series were either 
wholly or partly completed. As might be expected, the 
publication of various European periodicals devoted to an- 
thropologj' has either been suspended or has ceased entirely. 
Largely with the assistance of Mrs. Frances S. Nichols many 
of the older books and pamphlets were newly catalogued by 
both subject and author, and thus made more readUy avail- 
able. Of 133 volumes sent to the bindery about half were 
returned before the close of the year. Books borrowed from 
the Library of Congress numbered about 400. 



The following collections were acquired by the bureau, by 
members of its staff, or by those detailed in connection with 
its researches, and have been transferred to the National 
Museum : 

Six ethnologic objects from British Guiana, presented by Dr. 
Walter E. Roth, of Marlborough, Pomeroon River, British Guiana. 

A small coUection of archeological objects of earthenware, jadeite, 
etc., from the Kich6 district of Totonicopan, Guatemala. (61097.) 

A collection of archeological objects, including human bones, 
gathered by Mr. Neil M. Judd in Utah. (60194.) 

Seven specimens found by Mr. Joseph Dame in Millard County, 
Utah, and purchased from him through Mr. Neil M. Judd. (60105.) 

A coUection of archeological objects and skeletal material gathered 
by Dr. Walter Hough at the Luna pit village in western New Mexico. 

Ten baskets of the Guiana Indians of South America, presented 
to the bureau by Dr. Walter E. Roth, of Marlborough, Pomeroon 
River, British Guiana. (60452.) 

Seventeen prehistoric pottery vessels, one piece of matting, and a 
few small objects collected by F. W. Hodge in a cist in a cave in a 
southern wall of Cibollita Valley, Valencia County, N. Mex. (60453.) 

Twenty-five archeological specimens gathered by Dr. J. Walter 
Fewkes from ancient ruins near Gallup, N. Mex. (60502.) 

A small black-ware vase from Santa Clara pueblo. New Mexico, 
presented by Robert H. Chapman, of Washington, D. C. (60826.) 

Twelve stone artifacts from Reeves Mill, near Pitman, Gloucester 
County, N. J., presented by Mrs. M. B. C. Shuman. (60836.) 

Archeological material collected by Dr. J. Walter Fewkes from 
excavations conducted at Mummy Lake Ruins, Mesa Verde National 
Park, Colo. (60880.) 

Archeological material collected by Dr. J. Walter Fewkes from 
excavations conducted at Oak Tree House, Mesa Verde National 
Park, Colo. (60901.) 

An Assiniboin headdress from Alberta, Canada, presented by Mr. 
Robert H. Chapman, Washington, D. C. (61007.) 

Skulls, skeletons, and parts of skeletons, an Indian ornament em- 
bedded in stone, and potterv fragments, collected in the vicinity of 
Vero and Fort Myers, Fla., iDy Dr. A. Hrdlidka. (61291.) 

Seven baskets made by the Koasati Indians of Louisiana, col- 
lected by Dr. Jphn R. Swanton. (61315.) 



Furniture was purchased to the amount of $196.25; the 
cost of typewriting machines was $206, and of a camera 
$10.50, making a total of $412.75 expended for furniture and 
apparatus. On the whole the furniture of the bureau is in 
good condition, but there are a few unserviceable pieces that 
should be replaced, while need of a few filing cases for current 
notes and manuscripts is felt. 


Quarters. — One of the rooms on the third floor of the north 
tower of the Smithsonian building, occupied by the bureau, 
was painted, and the electric lighting of three rooms im- 

Personnel. — The onh^ change in the personnel of the 
bureau was the appointment of Miss Ora A. Sowersby, 
stenographer and typewriter, on February 14, 1917, to 
succeed Miss Lana V. Schelski, transfeiTed. A temporaiy 
laborer was employed from time to time when required. 

Clerical. — The correspondence and other clerical work 
of the office, including the copying of manuscripts, has been 
conducted with the aid of Miss Florence M. Poast, clerk to 
the ethnologist in charge; Miss May S. Clark, and Mrs. 
Frances S. Nichols. Miss Sowersbj^ was assigned to the 
division of publications of the Smithsonian Institution for 
duty in connection with correspondence arising from the 
distribution of the bureau's publications. 

RespectfuU}' submitted. 

F. W. Hodge, 

Dr. Charles D. Walcott, 

Secretary qf the Smithsonian Institution. 








60160°— 24 3+ 26 


The ethnographical area which I have attempted to review in the 
follo-n'ing pages comprises that portion of the South American 
Continent bounded, roughly speaking, by the Atlantic seaboard, 
the Orinoco, and the northern limits of the watershed of the Rio 
Negro, and the lower Amazon: it also includes in a measure the 
Antilles, an early home of the Carib and the Aj-awak. 

In a former work, published in the Thirtieth Annual Report of 
the Bureau of American Ethnology, I dealt with the animism and 
folklore of the Indians; in the present one I discuss their arts, crafts, 
and customs. 

Tlie European war lias prevented me from carrj-ing out my orig- 
uial mtention of examining the earlier and best of the Guiana collec- 
tions displayed m certaiii of the continental museums, for, as is 
imfortunately the case with the majority of our British possessions, 
one has to visit foreign countries m order to complete the ethno- 
graphical study of our autochthonous populations. In this con- 
nection a glance at the nationality of the authoi-s m the following 
bibliography is sufficient commentary. 

I spent the major portion of the year 1914 visiting tlie hinterland 
borders of oiir own colony from the upper Rupimuni to the Ireng 
and to Mount Roraima. There is still a vast amoxmt of field work 
to be undertaken, not only there, but in Surinam and Cayemie, 
and if haste be not made, the information which it is now possible 
to glean will probably be lost forever. The so-called opening up of 
the country for the trader, the rancher, the timber getter, the balata 
and the rubber bleeder, et Txoc genus omne, may or may not exert a 
l)eneficial mfluence on the welfare of the Creole, the Negro, and the 
European; but for the aboriginal Indian it means ruin, degradation, 
and disappearance. 

I connmenced this work in the early part of 1907. 

Walter E. Roth. 

Marlborough, Pomeroon River, 
British Guiana, Jxine, 1916. 

In the interval consequent on the postponement of publication due 
to the World War, I have made two further journeys in the interior — 
a second trip to the Rupununi, and a tour along the upper reaches of 
the Barima and Barama. Many additions have been made to the 
original text. W. E. R. 

Christianbueg, Demeraea River, 

British Guiana, January, 1921. 



Chapter I. Fire, Stone, Timber, and Primitive Tools. 

Fire: Page 

Obtained by rubbing and twirling (1) 69 

Obtained by flint and steel (2) 70 

Carried from place to place (3) 71 

An aid to timber work (4) 71 

An illuminant (5) 71 

Stone celts and axes (6) 72 

Types of pattern (7) 7.3 

Their fixation (8) 73 

Manufacture (9) 75 

Tortoise-shell axes (10) 75 

Engraved celts (11) 76 

Stone adzes and chisels (12) 76 


Stone (13) 76 

Wood (14) 77 

Fish-tooth (15) 77 

Scrapers : 

Stone (16) 77 

Shell (17) 77 

Tooth (18) 78 

Drills and drilling (19, 20) 78 

Sandpaper (21) 79 

Modifications with introduction of iron (22) 79 

Chapter II. Gum.^. Wax, Oils. Pigments. 

Gums, resins, balsams, etc.: Hymenoea courbaril. Protium, Humiria flori- 
bunda, Vismia guianensis, Copaifera officinalis, Eperua, Mimusops globosa, 

Tabebuia longipes, Moronobea coccinea. Bisi. Sapium (23) 80 

Beeswax (24) S5 

Oils and unguents: 
Vegetable — 

Carapa guianensis, Astrocaryum, Attalea, Maximiliana regia. Mespilo- 
daphne, Oenocarpus bacaba. Lecythis zabucajo, Eugenia catinga, 

Myristica sebifera. Veserri and Cunama, Cunuri and Uacu (25) .... 85 
.\nimal — 

Turtle-egg (26) 87 

Steatomis caripensis (27) 88 

Pigments (red, purplish, and blue): Bignonia chica. Bixa orellana. Bellucia 
aubletii, Coussapoa latifolia. Genipa americana, Maparakuni erythroxylum, 
Pterocarpus guianensis. Renealmia exaltata. Henriettea succosa, ? Homa- 

lium, Buruburuli, Wiliko (28); red clay (29) 89 

Pigments (black and brown): Inga laterifolia, Allakoidde (30) 91 

Pigments (yellow): Lukunanijio (31) 91 

Pigments (white) : Kaolin (32) 91 



Chapter III. Twine, Cords, and Bands: Cotton. 

Twine: Page 

Single-ply (33) 92 

Spindle (34) 93 

Two-ply (35) 94 

Three-ply (36) 94 

Multiple-ply (37) 94 

Three-yarn scale lines (38) 95 

Cords and bands (39) 96 

Made without special apparatus — 
Cording — 

With one thread (40) 96 

With three threads (41) 98 

Strand-plaiting (42) 99 

Combined with overcasting (43) 99 

Overcasting (44) 100 

Loop-plaiting — 

With four loops (45) 101 

With five loops (46) 102 

Made with special apparatus — 

Single flat split-eye needle (47) 103 

Two flat split-eye needles (48) 104 

Single hooked needle (49) 105 

Two hooked needles (50) 105 

Four rounded split-eye needles (51) 106 

Six rounded split-eye needles (52) 107 

Two long cane sticks (53) 107 

A single stick (54) 108 

Loom (.55) 109 

Looping on a frame (56) 110 

Chapter IV. Twine, Cords, and Bands: Other than Cotton. 

Mauritia (ite) twine (57) Ill 

Sarau and uses (58, 59) 112 

Sensoro and uses (60) 113 

Knapsack straps (61, 62) 113 

Bina strings (63) 114 

BromeUa (silk grass): 

Kuraua twine (64) 114 

Fish Unes (65-69) 115 

Employed with needle (70 ) 117 

Three-yam hammock ropes (71) 118 

Astrocaryuni and remaining twines: Attalea funifera, Leopoldina piassaba, 

Carludovica, etc. (72) 118 

Chapter V. Beads and Beadwork. 
Varieties of beads: 

Fish-tooth (73) 119 

Shell (74) 119 

Seed (75) 119 

Quartz, stone, and glass (76) 120 

Methoils of threading beads (77) 120 

Manufacture of the bead apron (78) 120 

Chapter VI. Feathers and Featherwork. 

Attachment to string: Page 

Of larger-sized feathers (79 ) 122 

01 smaller-sized feathers (80 ) ] 23 

Tying of feather: 

To feather (81) 124 

To stick, etc. (82) 124 

Employment of feather on arrow (83) 125 

Cultivation of artificially colored feathers (84) 125 

Chapter VII. Metal Work. Leather and Bark Work. 

Gold (85) 127 

Silver (86 1 128 

Leather (87) 129 

BEirk (88) 129 

Chapter VIII. Pottery. 

Choice of clay (89) 130 

Mixed with certain ingredients (90) 130 

Manufacture of the vessel (91 ) 131 

Firing (92 1 133 

Luster and glaze (93) 133 

Painting and patterns (94) 133 

Protection against damage (95) 134 

Modern figured pottery (96) 134 

Old-time pottery: 

Figured (97, 98) 134 

Other objects (99) 135 

Chapter IX. Basketry and Plaitwohk. 

Materials employed (100 ) 137 

Itiriti (101 ) 137 

Mamuri ( 102) 139 

Awarra and akkoynro (103) 139 

Kamwarri ( 104 ) 139 

Forms of wea\-ing followed (105-114) '.... 139 

Waterproof basketry (115) 142 

Chapter X. Weapons, Hunting and Fighting. 

Shield (116) 144 


Of two complete tubes (117) 145 

Outer tube of two split halves (118) 147 

Single tube (119) 147 

Darts (120) 148 

Dart and arrow poison: 

Curare (121 ) 148 

Manufacture and uses (122) 150 

Mancelinier, rappu, markuri, etc. (123) 151 

Quivers for darts (124) 152 


Timbers (125) 153 

Manufacture (126) 154 

Bowstring (127) 154 


Arrow manufacture: Page 

Head (128) 155 

Fixation of barb (129) 156 

Sliaft (130) 156 

Variations in manufacture (131) 159 

Feathering (132) 159 

Nock (133) 160 

Arrow classification: 
Head simple — 

Pencil (134) 160 

Jagged (135) 161 

Head composite and fixed — 

Pencil (136) 162 

Lanceolate (137) 162 

Knobbed (138) 164 

Barbed (139-141) 165 

Head composite and detachable (harpoon arrows) (142-144) 167 

Arrow release (145) 168 

Arrow shooting: practice and skill at (14(i) 168 

Spear (147) 169 

Harpoon spear (148) 171 


■ Natural forms (149) 171 

Timbers utilized (150). . 171 

Spatulate type (151) 172 

Paddle type (152) 172 

Block type (153) '■ 173 

Dagger type (154) 173 

Chapter XI. Food: Search, Capture, and Preparation. 

General methods and means of capture (155-161) 174 

Preparatory ordeals for hunter, etc. (162) 178 

Cooking and preservation of food (163) 179 


Acouri, adouri, agouti, labba (164) 180 

Arma'Ullo (165) - 181 

Ant bear (166) 182 

Bush hog (167) 182 

Deer (168) 183 

Manati (169) 184 

Monkey (170) 185 

Otter (171) ---. 185 

Rat ( 1 72 ) - 185 

Sloth (173) 186 

Tapir (174) 186 

Water haas (175) 186 


General methods of capture (176-180) 187 

Quail (181) 188 

Duck (182) 189 

Cock-of-the-rock, toucan (183) 189 

Guacharo (184) 189 


Fish, rapture of: Page 

Di\-ing, feeling, stealing (185) 189 

Enticed by soxind, scent, or sight (186-189) 190 

By bow and arrow, Imrpoon, cudgel, cutlass (190 1 192 

Hook and line with bait (191, 192) 193 

Hook and line OTthout bait (193) 194 

Cylinder fall trap (194) 195 

Spring hooks (195-200) 196 

Fishing nets (201) 198 

Dams (202) 199 

Weirs and iences (203) 199 

Creels, cages (204-206) 200 

Puddling (207) 202 

Poison (208-214) 202 

Turtle, tortoise (215) 204 

Iguana, lizard (216) 205 

Alligator (217) 206 

Frog, toad (218) 208 

Snake (219) 208 

Crab (220) .209 

MoUnsks (221) 210 

Earthworm (222) 210 

Caterpillars, grasshoppers (223) 210 

Beetles (224) 211 

Ants (225) 211 

Wasps and bees (226) 212 

Honey (227) 212 

Chapter XII. Plant Food: Its Cultivation, Products, etc. 

Clearing of the land (228) 213 

Not always necessary (229) 214 

Occasionally no agriculture in any form (230) 214 

Ensilage (231) 215 


From fruit grain (232) 215 

From mauritia (233) 215 

From cassava (234) 216 


Bread, etc. (235) 216 

Roots (236) 217 

Leaves (237) 217 

Substitutes for cassava (238-243) 217 

Maize (244) 218 

Rice (245) 219 

Other economic plants (246) 219 

Wild fruits (247) 220 

Chapter XIII. Food Adjuncts. 


Cassarip (tukupi) (248) 222 

Arube (249) 222 


From plants (2.50) 222 

From inorganic sources (251) 223 

\'arying use by Indiana (252) 224 

Earth eating (253) 225 


Chapter XIV. Dwnks. 


Water in times of scarcity (254) 226 

Honey-water (255) 227 

Fermented drinks: 

Chicha "beer," etc. (256) 227 

Paiwarri (257) , ■. 227 

Cassiri (2.58) 228 

Beltiri (259) 228 

Ovaku or oiiicou (260) 229 

Couiia, berria, palino (261) 230 

Kiimani, parakari, sakura (262) 230 

Maby (263) 231 

Maize drink (264) 231 

Gaapim (265) 232 

Pineapple drink (266) 232 

Wild cashew, cane juice, cupana or guarana (267) - 232 

Plantain, couscou, yate (268) 232 

Nonfermented drinks: 

I te (269) 233 

Turn, manicol (270) 233 

Awarra, paripi, arakodak, hitchia, etc. (271) 234 

Chapter XV. Etiquette of Eating and Drinking. 

Carrying and cutting up of the food (272) 235 

Food may be shared (273) 235 

No fixed hours for meals, sexes usually dining separately (274) 236 

Cleaned hand8(275) 236 

Avoidance of certain foods (276) 236 

Drinking and eating independent; excuses for drinking (277) 237 

Ceremonial of drinking (278) 237 

Male or female attendants (279) 238 

Intoxication (280) 238 

"Pick-me-ups" (281) 239 

Chapter XVI. Narcotics and Stimulants. 

Preparation (282) 240 

Smoking(283) 241 

Chewing (284) -• 242 

Licking(285) 243 

Yupo, niopo, or parica {Piptadenm) (286) -• 243 

Ypudu (Erythroxylum) (287) - ■ 246 

Caapi (Banisteria) (288) 246 

Capsiciun, etc. (289) 247 

Chapter XVII. Huts and Houses. 

Conditions affecting site (290) 248 

Protection and defence, palisades (291) - 249 

Change of residence (292) 250 

Banabs or temporary shelters: 

Rectangular (293) 250 

Triangular (294) 252 

Lean-to (295) 252 

PorUble rain shelters (296) 253 

Outhouses (297) 253 


Permanent houses, classification of: Page 

Lean-to (298) 253 

Arched (299) 253 

Circular — 

Distribution (300) 254 

Construction of framework (301 ) 255 

Walls (302) y_ 257 

Door(303) 258 

VariationB with two main posts (304) 258 

With three (305) 259 

With none (306) 259 

Elhptical (307) .' . . . 260 

Nomenclature (308) 260 

Rectangular — 

With one semicircular end (309) 261 

With both ends vertical (310) 261 

In the Pomeroon district(311) 261 

In Cayenne (312) 262 

Nomenclature (313) 263 

Pile and other dwellings (314-317) 263 

Thatch, and how used (318-324) 265 

House decoration (325) 270 

Furniture (326) ; 270 

Houses in the islands (327) 271 

Chapter XVIII. Domestic Implements and Requisites. 

Benches, stools: 

General considerations (328) 273 

Evolution of the symmetrical forms (329) 274 

Asymmetrical forms (330) 276 

Adaptation of natural forms (331) 276 

Tables (3:52) 276 

Babracotes (333) 276 

Cassava graters: 

Natural forms (334) 277 

Stone-chip graters (335) 277 

Their manufacture by Taruma (336-341) 278 

Other sources of supply (342) 280 

How used (343) 280 

Cassava canoe (344) 280 

Cassava squeezer: 

Distribution (345). . '. 281 

Manufacture (346-354) 282 

Use (355) 285 

Cassava sifter: 

Arawak and Warrau (356) 286 

Makusi and Wapishana (357) 287 

Makusi, etc. (farine), sifter (358) 288 

Sifters of other types (359) 288 

How sifters are used (360) 289 

Baking ovens: 

Stone (361) 289 

Clay (362) 290 

Iron (363) 290 



Fire hearth (364) 290 

Cassava smoother (365) 290 

Fans (366) : 290 

Arawak (367) 291 

Saw-fish and wishbone pattern (368-371) 292 

Sting-ray gill pattern (372-374) 295 

Carib (375) 296 

Akawai (376) 297 

Drinking trough (377) 298 

Stirring paddle, spoon (378) 299 

Broom (379) 299 

Pestle and mortar: 

Wood (380) 299 

Bark (381) 301 

Stone (382) 301 

Sugar mill (383) 301 

Calabash cups, vessels, etc. (384 ) 301 


Adaptations of natural forms; bamboo, seed, " monkey- throat " (385) 303 

Sewed leaf (386) 303 

Plaited (387) 303 

Bags, pouches (388) 305 

Clay pots, pans, water vessels, etc. (389-391) 306 

Pot stands, head-pads (392) 307 


Close- work basketry mats compared with certain trays (393) 308 

Classification (394) 308 

(a) No special edging distinct from the foundation (395) 309 

(fc) A special edging on two opposite sides only (396) 309 

(c) A special edging around whole circumference (397) 310 

{(l) Roll-up mats (398) 310 

Mat satchels (399, 400) 310 

Bark mats (401) 312 


( lassification (402) 313 

(A) Rectangular — 

(a) With straight vertical rim or edging plaited independently of any 

rail or weft (403) 313 

(i) After being wound over a supporting rod or rail (404) 313 

(ii) Enclosing a series of rails (405) 313 

(6) With concave outward-sloping rims (406) _. 316 

(c) Hanging trays (407) 317 

(B) Circular, edging formed — 

(a) Of its own strands specially twisted and plaited (408) 317 

(6) Of a capped lining (409) 320 

(f ) Of a series of rails (410) 321 

(d) hanging trays (411) 321 

Baskets — Made of specially prepared strands as opposed tfi adaptations of 

natural forms: 
(A) Hexagon type of base — 

(a) With a single weft (412-414) 322 

(5) With a multiple wett (415) 326 


Baskets — Continued. 

(B) Circular or oval type of base — Page 

(a) Radiate (416) ., 329 

(6) Vertebrate (417) 331 

(c) Diaphragmatic — 

Hexagon (418) 332 

Loop (419, 430) 332 

(rf) Unenclosed — 

Twined (421) 333 

Pentagon (422) 336 

(C) Cone type of base — 

(a) Open-work (hexagon) ( 423) 337 

(b) Close-work (twilled) (424) 337 

(D) Rectangle type of base — 

(a) Hipped (425, 426) 338 

(b) Gabled (427) 340 

(c) Flat— 

(i) Hexagonal (428) . . . , 341 

(ii) Crossed quadrilateral (429) 342 

(iii) Checker (430) 344 

(iv) Wicker (armadUlo) (431, 432) 344 

(v) Twilled (hourglass) (433-436) 345 

(1) Single central figure: Completed article is shaped like — 

Cylinder (437) 350 

Tub (438) 351 

Belly (439) 351 

Basin or bowl (440) 351 

(2) Multiple figure: Completed article is box-shaped and 

known as pegall, satchel, etc. (441-446") 353 

(3) Freaks (447) 369 

Classification of baskets (448) 370 

Cover basketry (449) 372 

Knapsacks (450) 373 

Patterns (451) 376 

Covers (452) 376 

Adaptations of natural forms to mats, trays, baskets, knapsacks, etc. 

(453-457) 377 

Chapter XIX. Hammock.*. 

Preliminary (458) 381 

Materials (459) 382 

Manufacture on a frame of two vertical posts: 

Cotton hammock of the ArekuBa (460) 382 

Tucum hammocks of upper Rio Negro (461) 383 

Cotton hammocks of the Arawak, Carib, Akawai, Makusi, Wapishana, etc. 

(462) 384 

Ite hammock (sarau) of the Warrau (463,464) 384 

Manufacture on a frame of two horizontal timbers Hoom) (465) 386 

Cotton: Warps interwoven — 

Without division (466) 386 

With division (467) 388 

Permanent separator (468) 389 

Raiser (469) 389 

Temporary separator, beater, or preaeer (470) 389 

Their manipulation (471) 390 



Geographical distribution (472) 392 

Variatiuns in the bars of the cotton hammocks (473, 474) 393 

Obsolete variety of cotton hammock (475) ' 393 

Ornamentation, etc., of cotton hammock (476) 395 

Manufacture of the ite (sensoro) hammock by the Warrau (477) 395 

Coloration (478) 397 

Classification (479) 297 

Scale lines (480) 398 

Method of slinging (481, 482) 398 

Chapter XX. Baby Slings. 

Preliminary (483 ) 400 

The ring sling; frame and varieties of pattern (484) 400 

Two-and-two pattern (48.5-191) 401 

Methods of completion (492-494) 407 

How to obviate difficulties in course of manufacture (495) 408 

Two-and-one pattern (496-498) 408 

Can be varied here and there with a few rows of the two-and-two pat- 
tern (499) 410 

Terminals of the locking cords (500) 411 

Chapter XXI. Body Deformation, Decoration, Ornaments, Clothes. 


Head (501) 412 

Teeth (502) 413 

Lips (503) 414 

Cheeks (504) 415 

Nostrils (505) 415 

Ears (506) 415 

Se.\ual(507) 417 

Depilation (508) 418 


Face (509) 419 

Other portions of body (510) 421 


Anointing (511) 422 

Painting (512, 513) 422 

Feathering (514) 425 


Hairdressing (515) 425 

Haircutting (516) 427 

Hairpins, combs (517) 427 

Coverings, dresses, ornaments (518) 428 

Feather crowns (519-527 ) 429 

Caps (528) 431 

Ornaments (529) 431 

Forehead bands, fillets, rings (530) 431 

Necklaces and shoulder belts: 

Teeth (531-533) 432 

Other animal products (534) 433 

Seeds and beads (535) 433 

Stone and metal (536) 435 



Neck, back, and chest ornaments {5S') 435 

Ruffs, tippets, mantles (538) 436 

Bark shirts (539 ) 437 

Armlets (540) 438 

Bracelets (541 1 439 

Finger rings ( 542) 439 

Belts, girdles (54,3-545) 439 

Loin cloths, aprons, laps, etc. (546) : 441 

Bark (547) 443 

Cloth, cotton, etc. (548) 443 

Seeds and beads (.549) 445 

Miscellaneous (550) 446 

Skirts (551) 446 

Leg ornaments (552) 447 

Sandals (553) 448 

Chapter XXIL Music.\l and Other Sound Instruments. 


Early morning music (554) - 450 

Varieties of instrument (555) 451 

Trumpets, tubes: 

Clay (.5,56) 451 

Clay resounder with cane tube (557) 4.52 

Bark (5.58) 452 

Wood, wood and basketry (559) 453 

Flute type: 

Wood, bamboo (.560, 561 ) 454 

Clay (.562) 456 

Flageolet t\-pe: 

Wood (563) 456 

Bone (564) 457 

Gourd (565) 458 

Panpipes (566) 458 


Wood (567) 459 

Clay (568) 459 

Bone (569) 4.59 

Reed instruments (570) 459 

String instruments: 

Monochord (571) 461 

Viol and violin (.572) 463 

Percussion instruments: 

Rattles (573) 463 

Hard-shell seed pods (574) 464 

Beetle-wing cases (575) 465 

Hollow cylinders, dance sticks, etc., (576) 465 

Drums — 

Skin (577-579) 466 

Wood (580) 467 

Substitutes for drums (581) 468 

Friction instruments (582) 469 


Chapter XXIII. Games, Sports, and Amusements. 


Dance, drink, and debauchery (583 ) 470 

Dances restricted to special circumstances (584) 471 

Harvest dance (.585) 471 

Humming-bird, parishara, etc., dances (586-590) 473 

Dances and foot races (591) 478 

Remaining dances of the series (592) 479 

Dances with special apparatus: 

With decorations (593) 479 

Without decorations (594) 480 

Females and dancing (595) 481 

Words of certain .songs (596, 597) 481 

Story-telling (598-601) 483 

Ball play (602-606) 488 

Wrestling (607) 490 

Shield game (608) 491 

Children's games: 

Bows and arrows (609, 610) 493 

Charades (fill) 494 

Wax and clay modeling (612) 49.5 

Hide and seek (613) 496 

Dolls (614) 496 

Tops (615) 496 

Blowguns (616) 496 

Catchers (617) 496 

Stilts (618) 497 

Buzzers (619) 497 

Rattles (620) 497 

Leaf-strand figures (621) 498 

Water games (622) 499 

('hapter XXIV. String Figures, Tricks, and Puzzles. 

Preliminary (623) .500 

The string (624) .501 

Definitions (625) ,501 

Position 1 (626) 502 

Opening A (627 1 .502 

Opening B (628) .503 

Opening C (629) '. .503 

Position 2 (630) 503 

Opening A (631) ,504 

Opening B (632) ,504 

Position 3 (633) ,504 

Opening A (634) .504 

Position 4 (635) .505 

Opening A (636) .506 

Opening B (637) .506 

Synopsis of abbreviations (638) 506 

Position 1 : 

.lumping dog flea (639) .507 

Crab (640-642 ) .507 

House door (643) 509 


Position 1 — Continued. 

Snake(644) ^''^^ 

Fiog(645) " -jQ 

Palm (046-647) ^^^ 

Two palms (648') ; c,^ 

Star (649) ' " 

Pleiades (650) " g^^ 

Moon (651) 515 

Hammock (652 ) -, , 

Opening A — 

Forked sticks (653 ) c-i c 

Visitor come and gone (654 1 cjU 

Trap, snare (655, 656) c,g 

Butterfly (657) 517 

Two islands (658) -,1 

Sun between clouds (659) sjo 

Swamp, with log across (660 '_ 5J9 

Fishes (661) ,j„ 

Looking-glass (662) -.,„ 

Opening B — 

Skeleton, ghost (663) -.,, 

Flat board (6M) 501 

Beetle (665) 593 

Basket (666) ' g]^. 

Opening C — 

Bird 's nest (667) ^^,3 

Corial (668) " 

Bird 's breastbone (669) c^c 

Honey, hollow tree trunk (670) 595 

Position 2 : 

Fish marching (671) 59g 

Monkey, caterpillar (672) cL 

Fish trap, creel (673, 674 ) 527 

Bird trap (675) " ^ ^ ^ ^ ^.-.g 

Opening A — ' ' 

Banab (676) 53^ 

Two creels (6771 con 

Jawbone, man in hammock (678, 679) 53O 

("orial (680) ^3^ 

Door (681) y.^y^...............'.'..'. 532 

Opening B — 

Bat (682) 532 

Silk-cotton tree (683) coo 

With eagle's nest (684) 533 

With eagle's nest and eaglets (685) 533 

Night clouds and daylight (686-689) 534 

Position 3 : 

Bush, palm trees (690) 53g 

Dragon fly (691) g3g 

Cow fly (692) 537 

Opening A — 

Yarrau fish (693) -3^ 

Ite palm (694) - •■- 

00160°— 24 4-1- 


Position 4: Page 

Mosquito (695) 539 

Bird footprints (696, 697) 540 

Rainbow, mountain (698') 541 

Opening A — 

Four-eye fish (699) 541 

Sunfisli (700) 541 

Opening B — 

Sting ray (701) 542 

Spider (702) 543 

Parrot (703) 543 

Miscellaneous figures, tricks, and puzzles: 

Baby sling (704) 543 

Patois fish (705) 544 

Woodpecker (706) 545 

Fowl anus (707) 546 

Cutting the fingers (708-710) 546 

Hanging trick (711, 712) 549 

To remove a figure from bowstring (713) 550 

To remo\'e endless string off two sticks (714) 550 

To separate two locked sticks (715) 550 

Chapter XXV. Animals Under Domestication and Captivity. 

Suckling, taming, etc., in general (716) 551 


Indigenous (717) 552 

Hunting in packs, the '"Warracabba tiger" (718) 553 

Training, etc. (719, 720) 553 

Domestic curs (721) 554 

Monkeys (722) 555 

Other four-footed mammals (723) 555 

Biids (724) ; 555 

Reptiles (725) 556 

Bees, and other insects (726) 556 

Chapter XXVI. Rules of Conduct: Crime and Punishment. 

Redress for injury: 

Individual (727) 557 

Family matter, e. g., homicide (728) 557 


Twins (729) 558 

Females (730) 559 

First-bom, etc. (731) 560 

Suicide (732) 560 

Sexual freedom, love and adultery (733) 560 

Secret poisoning: 

Animal poisons (734) 562 

Vegetable poisons (735) 564 

Theft (736) 564 

Property and taboo marks (737) 565 

Minor punishments: 

Whipping, etc. (738) 565 

Ant biting (739) 566 


Chapter XXVII. The Chief and Exercise of Authority. 


On the mainland (740) 567 

On the islands (741 1 568 

General respect shown to the chief (742) 568 

Status of the medicine man compared (743) 568 


By heredity or marriage (744) 568 

Supplemented by ordeals (745 1 570 

By election after ordeals — 

On Berbice (746) 570 

On Orinoco (747) 571 

In Cayenne (748) 572 

On the islands (740) 573 

Women chiefs (750) 573 

In.signia and symbols of authority (751) 573 

Chief's obligations, rights, and duties (752, 753) 575 

Hereditary pri\'ileges (754) 577 

Chapter XX\III. War and Warfare. 

Some nations of a pacific, others of a l)ellicose dispo.sition (755) 578 

Motives and causes for war (756) 579 

Council of war (757) 579 

Call to arms and declaration of war: 

By word of mouth, drum, or shell (758) 581 

By arrow (759) 582 

Commander in chief (7fiO) 582 

Commissariat and camp followers (761) 583 

Methods of attack: 

Seldom open hostilities (762) 583 

Generally ambuscade, treachery, night attacks, etc. (763) 584 

Use of fire arrows, concealed rafts, obstructed pathways, burnt peppers, 

women decoys (764) 585 

Methods of defence (765) 587 

Trophies and spoils of war (766) 588 

Fate of prisoners : 

Scalped (767) 588 

Eat«n (768) 590 

By island Carib (769) 591 

By mainland Carib (770) 591 

By Arawak (771) 592 

By Betoya (772) 595 

Further e\-idence of the shell mounds (773) 595 

Enslaved for, and by, Europeans (774) 596 

Indian ser\dtude (775 ) 599 

Negro slavery (776) 600 

Ratification of peace (777) 601 

Chapter XXIX. Travel — Overland. 

Signs and signals on the road (778) 602 

Artificial landmarks, cairns, etc. (779) 603 

Rock engra\'ings (780, 781 ) 604 

Rock paintings (782) 606 

Natural features (783) 607 



Tracking: sense of locality (784) 607 

Traveling in single file (785) 607 

Accompanied usually by their women (786) 608 

Means of travel, etc. : 

Bush-rope ladders over the sandstone ten-aces (787) 609 

Leaves and spars over swamps (788) 609 

Obstructing trees (789) .' 609 

Tree climbing (790) 609 

Streams waded or bridged (791) 610 

Chapter XXX. Travel by Boats, Rafts, Etc. 

Canoes, corials, falcas (792) 611 

Manufacture (793) 612 

Materials (794) 613 

Cover and fittings (795) 613 

Calking (796) 614 

Sails (797) 614 

"Wood-skins " (798) 615 

Paddles and poles (799) 617 

Hauling over logs (800) 618 

Hauling over falls and rapids (801) 618 

Hauling with rafts (802) 618 

Taboos employed when traveling (802A) 619 

Chapter XXXI. Salutations. 

Notice of approach to settlement (803) 620 

Special house for strangers (804) 621 

Procedure of the visitors on arrival (805) 621 

Procedure of the people visited: 

Signs and gestures (806) 622 

Other expressions of friendship and welcome (807, 808) 623 

Painting and anointing (809) 625 

Distribution of drink, food, and tobacco (810) 625 

( 'eremonial of this distribution, male servitors (811) 627 

Apparent indifference of the host (812) 628 

Interchange of credentials occasionally, welcoming speech, etc. (813) 629 

Comfort of the visitor assured, women, etc. (814) 630 

On departure, gifts, .speeches, etc.. may be exchanged (815) 631 

Chapter XXXII. Trade and Barter. 

No interest in the accumulation of property (816) 632 

Value of article dependent upon its want, not its worth (817) 632 

Ignorance of presents (818) 633 

No mediiun of exchange, and consequently, often no business done (819) 633 

Trust and credit (820) 633 

Trade may be direct, indirect, or through agencies (821) 633 

Advertising, "shouting, " etc. (822) .' 634 

Trading expeditions and trade routes (823) 634 

Each nation usually has its own particiilar home products (824-828) 635 

Note on the Dutch-Indian trade (829) 637 


Chapter XXXIII. Death and Mourning. 


Daily lamentation of the dead (830) 638 

Signs of mourning (831) 638 


Site, purpose, natiu'e (832) 639 

Posture of the corpse (833) 640 

Property buried or destroyed (834) 640 

Cremation (835) 641 

Urn burial (836) 641 

Mummification (837) -. 641 

Final destination of deceased's bones or ashes (838) 641 

Final burial festivities: 

Disposal of sur\-iving partner (839) 642 

■WTiip and its variations (840) 643 

Mortuary customs of the different nations; 

Arawak(S41) 643 

The Makuari dance for males (842) 645 

The name (843) 646 

WTiistles (844) 647 

Whips (845) 648 

Other objects (846) 649 

The Hauyari dance for females (847) 650 

Arawak stock : Atorai, Tariana (848) 650 

Warrau (849) 651 

Otomac (850) 653 

Saliva (851) 653 

Saliva stock ; Piaroa, Ature (852) 654 

Guahiba and Chiricoa (853) v 655 

Betoya (854) 656 

Jirara. Ayrica (855) 657 


On Orinoco (856) 657 

On Demerara (857> 658 

In Surinam (858) 658 

In Cayenne (859) 659 

In the Islands (860) 659 

Carib stock: 

Akawai (861) '. 661 

Galibi (862) 661 

Makusi (male) (863) 661 

Makusi (female) (864) 662 

Oyana (865) 664 

Oyampi (866) 665 

Palicour (867) 665 

Chapter XXXIV. Sexual: Marriage, Polygamy, Divorce, Work, and Labor. 


By betrothal (868) 666 

Choice on man's side (869) 668 

Temporary exchange (870) 669 

Purchase (871) 670 

Capture (872) 670 


Marriage — Continued. Page 

Choice on girl's side (873) 670 

Right of birth (874) 671 

Usually with parents' consent (875) 672 

Variable degrees of consanguinity observable (870) 672 

Marital and family relationships: 

Arawak (877, 878) 673 

Carib (879) 675 

Warrau (880) 675 

Personal names (881) 676 

Discrepancies of age (882) 678 

Members of different tribes (883) 679 

Puberty and prenuptial ordeals of the male (884) 679 

Puberty and prenuptial ordeals of the female (885) 680 

Marriage customs: 

Drinking, dancing, etc. (886) 680 

Gifts of food and firewood (887) 682 

Hair combing (888) 683 

Position of husband and wife in family circle (889) 683 

Relations between husband and wife (890) 684 

Mother-in-law (891) 685 


Its prevalence (892) 685 

Factors (893) 686 

Wife's sister (894) 686 

The household (895) 687 

Relative position of wives and children (896) 687 

Widowhood (897) 688 

Divorce (898) '. 689 

Relations of sex to labor (899-903) 689 

Chapter XXXV. Birth and Childhood. 

Accouchement (904) 693 

Umbilical cord (905) 694 

Post-partem ablutions (906) 694 

Couvade (907) 695 

Abortion (908) 697 

Suckling to an advanced age (909) 697 

Lullaby songs (910) 697 

Affection for children (911) 698 

Education by habitude and experience: knives (912) 699 

Baby hanging chairs (913) 700 

Chastisement (914) 700 

Regard for children's property (915) 701 

Chapter XXXVI. Sickness and Hygiene. 

Special intonation of speech used in cases of sickness (916) 702 

General neglect of the aged and feeble (917) 702 

Fear of disease (918) 703 

Ordinary routine treatment of disease; 

Restrictions of diet (919) • 704 

Emetics and purgatives (920) 704 

Enemata (921) 704 


Ordinary routine treatment of disease — Continued. Page 

Ablutions and \-apor baths (922) 705 

Bleeding (923 ) 706 

Blood as a therapeutic agent (924) 707 

Suction (925) 707 

Counterirritants (926) 70S 

Treatment by drugs, etc., of the more common ailments: 

Eye complaints, fevers, dysentery (927) 708 

Fits (928) 709 

Snake bite, sting-ray wounds, etc. (929) 710 

Poison antidotes (930) 711 

Personal hygiene: 

Early rising (931 ) 711 

Bathing (932) 711 

Mosquitoes (933) 712 

Lice and chigoes, etc. (934) 712 

Sanitary measures (9351 713 

Chapter XXXVII. Recognition of Time, Season, Number, Distance. 

Time recognized by special events; the year fixed by the Pleiades (936) 715 

Seasons fixed by ripening of certain fruits, clearing lands, hunting particular 

Fixed by stars and constellations (937) 715 

Fixed by vegetable and animal signs (938) 717 


Strings, sticks, stones (939) 718 

Conceptions of the higher numbers (940) 719 

Distance (941 ) : 720 

Index and glossary 721 




1. Sketch map of the country and environs of the Guiana Indians 68 

2. Primitive methods of making fire. A, Tinder box with cotton and iron 

file (Makusi) ; B, C, firestones and old iron blade 70 

3. Celts 70 

4. Grooved axes •. . . 76 

5. A, B, Engraved celts from the Sandhills, Demerara River; C, D, green- 

stone specimen of problematical use, possibly a chisel 76 

6. Stone knives and scrapers 76 

7. Use of scraper and drill 76 

8. Cotton-cord making with a single flat split-eye needle 104 

9. A, B, C, Cotton-band making with a single hooked needle; D, cotton-band 

anklet made with a single hooked needle (Oarib) 104 

10. A, Cotton band made with four needles; B, cotton band made with six 

needles; C, baby sling made of two loom-woven cotton bands (Akawai) . 106 

11. Cotton-band making with two long canes 106 

12. Cotton-band making on a miniature loom 110 

13. Shoulder .straps or bands 110 

14. A, Bina string being pulled through the nostril ; B, making a bead apron . . 114 

15. The manufacture of kuraua twine for fishing lines, scale lines, etc 114 

16. Kg. 1, methods of threading beads; fig. 2, old-time quartz and stone beads. 120 

17. The glass bead apron ; making the top crosstie and warps 120 

18. The glass bead apron. A, B, Method of threading the beads; C, the apron 

in course of construction 124 

19. Method of attachment of feathers to arrow 124 

20. Technique of diamond method of attachment of feather to arrow 124 

21. Cover basketry. A, Hexagonal mesh; B, looped mesh 124 

22. Modern pottery figurines 134 

23. Old-time pottery heads and figurines 134 

24. Old-time pottery heads and figurines 134 

25. Old-time pottery heads and figurines 134 

26. Old-time pottery heads and figurines 134 

27. Transitional forms of pottery 134 

28. Transitional forms of pottery 136 

29. Transitional forms of pottery 136 

30. Wide-mouthed jars ' 136 

31. Old-time effigy vessel on four-legged base 136 

32. Old-time effigy vessels ' 136 

33. Old-time pottery 136 

34. A, Tukano dancers with shield and lance rattle; B, weapons of the Guianese 

Indians (Cayenne) 146 

35. A, The three types of blowgun; B, quivers with deerskin covers, and bundle 

of poison darts; C, quivers for poison darts 146 

36. A, Old-time stone spearheads from British Guiana; B, types of spatulate 

and paddle-shaped clubs from the Uaupes River 170 




37. Paddle and dagger type clubs 170 

38. A bow-and-arrow trap, as set by the Arawak 172 

39. Block type clubs 174 

40. Watch post in tree 174 

41. Rat trap and bird traps and snares 178 

42. Ant frames 178 

43. Fall trap and spring hook, Pomeroon River 196 

44. Waiwai pig trap 196 

45. Spring hooks and spring basket 196 

46. Old-time Indian &hhooks 198 

47. A, Roucouyenne spring hook for fish; B, manner of catching fish by the 

spring basket (Surinam); C, catching fish with the spring hook 
(Surinam) 198 

48. A, B, C, Fish nets of the Uaupes River Indians; D, dip nets for collecting 

fish after being poisoned 198 

49. A, B, Fish weir, upper Rio Negro; C, basket for catching fish in shallow 

water 198 

50. A, B, Creels from the Uaupes River district; C, basket for small fish 

(Rio Caiary) 200 

51. A, Net basket for crabs (Aiary River); B, cassava juice forced by hand 

pressure through a circular sifter, in place of a matapi (Uaupes River 
district) 200 

52. A, Tukano smoking cigar in special holder; B, method of snuffing pipta- 

denia among the Ouitoto 242 

53. A, Clay vessel in which Banisteria caapi is kept; B, apparatus for inhaling 

piptadonia snuff on the Rio Tiquie; C, bast sack and calabash for 

collecting and preserving Erythroxijlon coca (Uaupes River district).. 242 

54. Temporary lean-to shelter and permanent arched house (Cayenne) 252 

55. Rain shelter made of plaited manicol leaf 252 

56. Circular house: construction of the framework 256 

57. Variations in circular type of house among the Taurepang (Arekuna) 258 

58. A, Carib village of Annai, Rupununi River, showing arched or vaulted 

type of house; B, arched house 260 

59. Circular houses 260 

60. Elliptical houses with mud walls at Annai village 260 

61. A, B, Front and back views of a Tuyuka malokaon the Tiquie; C\ frame- 

work of a Siusi maloka on the Aiary 260 

62. A, Warrau house on itabo between Moruca and Pomeroon Rivers; B, 

small rectangular house 264 

63. A, Old-time houses in Cayenne; B, an unusual form of dwelling at the 

village of Inongkong 264 

64. Fig. 1, The truli leaf as thatch; figs. 2 and 3, house ornaments, etc 264 

65. A, Vaulted drying scaffold for kokerit; B, an example of decorated house 

(Uaupes River district) 264 

66. A, Bench from Cayenne; B, the "praying mantis" bench of the Makusi; 

C, the three-legged stool of the Makusi 276 

67. A, Stone chips removed from a Taruma grater; B, stone chip cassava 

grater (Taruma); C, cassava grating on the islands (middle seventeenth 
century); D, stone chip cassava graters from the Uaupes River 

district 276 

68. Cassava squeezer 282 

69. Manufacture of the cassava squeezer 282 

70. Arawak and Warrau cassava sifter 286 



71. A, Cassava sifter (Arawak, Wapisliana, Makusi, etc.): B, farine sifter 

(Makusi, Wapisliana) 286 

72. Variations in the Makusi cassava sifters 286 

73. Variations in the edginc; of the Makusi cassava sifters 286 

74. A, Sifting cassava; B, cassava sift era of the upper Rio Negro 290 

75. A, Incised pattern baking hearth; B, cooking vessel supported on clay 

cylinders; C, Uaupes River district articles 290 

76. Interior Wew of a Makusi dwelling 290 

77. Various forms of cassava "smoother" 290 

78. The Arawak fan 290 

79. Manufacture of Arawak fan — sawfish and wishbone patterns 290 

80. Manufacture of Arawak fan — sting-ray gill pattern 296 

81. Manufacture of Carib and Akawai fan 296 

82. A-C, Types of stone mortars; D-F, cone-shaped stone pestles; G, H, 

cone-shaped and discoid stone pestles; /, cane being squeezed in the 

sugar mill 302 

83. A, Calabash ornamented with incised patterns; B, carved awarra-seed 

boxes; C, gourds as water vessels 302 

84. A, Quill needle case: B, sewn palm-leaf boxes; C, plaited palm-leaf boxes. 302 

85. Cotton woven rectangular bags (Patamona and Makusi) 302 

86. A, Painted vessel (Demerara); B, C, domestic pottery of the Pomeroon 

district Carib 306 

87. A, Painted cla\' water vessels from the upper Rio Negro; B, painted clay 

bowls from the upper Rio Negro 306 

88. A, Clay cooking pots from upper Rio Negro Arawak tribes: B, common 

form of "buck pot"; C, unusual form of cassiri jar 306 

89. A, Pot stand from the Aiary River; B, checker pattern mat with no special 

edging 306 

90. A, Mat with no special edging (Arekuna); B, mat with special edging on 

two opposite sides ( Wapishana) 310 

91. ^, Mat with special edging on two opposite sides (Makusi); B, mat 

with special edging all around circumference (Wapishana) 310 

92. A, Makusi mat: B, makusi mat converted into a tray by means of a cane 

edging 310 

93. Railed edging on mats 310 

94. A, Roll-up mat (Patamona); B, C, D, mat satchels 314 

95. Trays. A, Patamona; B, Akawai 314 

96. Wapishana trays 314 

97. A, Akawai tray with three-rail edging; B, tray with rail edging, fixed on 

legs to form a miniature table 314 

98. A, Circular tray ( Warrau i ; B, the Tarimba monochord ( Warrau) 320 

99. Circular trays with co\er edging 320 

100. ,4, Circular tray with railed edging: B, the kau-uri basket of the Arawak. . 320 

101. Circular hanging trays (Arawak) 320 

102. Waikarapa baskets with interpolated or secondary weft (Makusi) 328 

103. A, Hexagonal base bottle-shaped basket; B, hexagonal base basket with 

lid (probably Makusi) ; C, Tanaba basket (Makusi ) 328 

104. Baskets with circular base, radiate foundation (Arawak and Patamona).. 328 

105. Examples of circular base, radiate j)attern baskets from the upper Rio 

Negro (Aiary River) 328 

106. Oval base, vertebrate foundation baskets (Arekuna, Patamona, Makusi, 

etc.) 332 



107. A, Circular base basket, diaphragm foundation (WaiTaut; B, thebakok6or 

eye-socket oval-base basket of the Arawak and WaiTau 332 

108. ^-1, Fish creels; B, conical base landing net baskets 336 

109. A, Rectangular flat base openwork hexagonal mesh basket; B, the Ka- 

maiyo, conical base closework basket 336 

110. .4, The 'quake" of the Deraerara Creoles; B, basket with rectangular 

hipped base; C, basket with rectangular gabled base 340 

111. A, Basket with rectangular fiat base, openwork crossed quadrilateral mesh 

(Makusi); B, basket with rectangular flat base, closework checker pat- 
tern — cover of similar construction 340 

112. Basket with rectangular flat base; armadillo wicker pattern; a receptacle 

and cover 344 

113. Single hourglass pattern baskets (Patamona, Makusi, and Taurepang) .... 344 

114. Single hourglass pattern belly baskets 350 

115. Single hourglass pattern compound bowl or basin baskets 350 

116. Multiple hourglass pattern pegall — open 354 

117. ^4, Satchel (Arawak); B, multiple hourglass pattern pegall — closed; 

C, baskets from Cayenne (middle eighteenth centiu'y ) 354 

118. A, Method of carrying knapsack (Makusi); B, knapsack (Akawai and 

Patamona); C, D, knapsack found in Patamona camp (perhaps old 
Makusi) ; E, F, Taurepang knapsack 376 

119. Knapsack covers 376 

120. A, Knapsack cover made from two halves of ite leaf; B, C, single ite leaf 

satchels from the Rupununi ( Wapishana and Makusi) 380 

121. Split leaf ite trays for handing food to visitors, etc. (Makusi and Wa- 

pishana) 380 

122. Split leaf ite baskets for transporting the pepper pot 380 

123. .4, The ite-leaf "throat-box" basket of the Makusi, etc.;-B, C, ite-leaf 

knapsacks (Makusi, Wapishana, etc.) 380 

124. Turu and manicol leaf knapsack and baskets from the Pomeroon 380 

125. A, B, C, Turu or manicol leaf "tliroat-box'' basket; D, E, manicol leaf 

basket and knapsack from the Pomeroon 380 

126. A, Kokerit leaf knapsack from the Rupununi River; B, C, temporary 

knapsack formed of withes and bark strips 380 

. 127. Manufacture of cotton hammock 380 

128. Manufacture of cotton hammock 390 

129. A, Cotton hammock without fringe; B, cotton hammock with ornamental 

fringe; C, cotton hammock with feather decoration: D, domestic scene 
(Makusi) 390 

130. A, Method of slinging hammocks (Oyapock River); B, Makusi baby ring- 

sling 400 

131. A, Patamona at Maripai village; B, Makusi at Inongkong village 400 

132. A, B, Baby ring-sling in course of manufacture; C, Habba basket 400 

133. Making the ring-sling 400 

134. Vertical feather crown (Makusi, Wapishana, et al.) 414 

135. A, B, Cone or bell shaped lip ornament worn by Makusi; C, i>, Cayenne 

Indians, showing pierced cheeks and tattooing; E, F, silver nose 
ornaments 416 

136. .4, Tuyuka male from upper Rio Negro; B, combs from the Uaupes and 

upper Rio Negro; C, comb from the Waiwai tribe 416 

137. A, Foundation for vertical type of feather crown; B, vertical type of 

basketry feather crown (Wapishana); C, horizontal type of basketry 
feather crown 428 

138. Feather headdresses from Cayenne (about middle eighteenth century) . . 428 



139. ^1, Cotton fillet (Carib males, Barima River); B, bark headband with 

stained pattern (Waiwai and Tariima women); C, cotton woven band 
(Makusi women) 432 

140. Xecklaces. A, Patamona (seeds alone); B, Wapishana (blue and white 

bead-stringed seeds); C, Arekuna (Taurepang) seeds and beads 4;i2 

141. Necklaces. A, Carib (bush-hog tooth); B, Patamona (water haas and 

jaguar tooth): C, Arekuna (two kinds of seed); D, Patamona (carved 
kokerit seeds) 432 

142. Xecklaces. A, Makusi (seeds witli cotton back ornament); B, Makusi 

(seeds with back ornament) 432 

14:i Necklaces. A, Wapishana (abrus seeds); B, Wapishana (aromatic seeds); 

C, Makusi (gun caps on white beaded strings) 432 

144. Necklaces. ^, Patamona (bush-hog claws); B, Wapishana (seeds; 432 

145. Necklaces, yl, Patamona(3eeds and beads); B, Wapishana (bead-stringed 

seeds) ; C, Wapishana (with back ornament of deer tail ) 432 

146. Necklaces. A, Patamona (cotton necklace and chest ornament); B, Carib 

(bush-hog tooth) 432 

147. Necklaces. .4, Makusi (acouri tooth); B, Patamona (salt-water shells); 

C, chest ornament 434 

148. Chest ornaments. .1, B, Stone, from a Piai's grave, Barima River; C, D, 

shell in shape of human figure; E, quartz ornament of the I'aupes 
River Indians 434 

149. A, French Guiana medicine man; B, steam bath for Roucouyenne woman 

after confinement ; 434 

150. ^4, Black powis feather tippet (Makusi); B, red macaw feather ruff 434 

151. -1, Piapoco Indian, showing the bark shirt; B, children's bracelets cut 

from akkoyuro seed; C, children's and women's finger rings, cut from 
seeds 438 

152. Armlets, cotton, with and without the button 438 

153. A, Arekuna hair belt; B, Patamona and Makusi hollow cylinder plaited 

belts; C, Patamona cylinder plaited four-loop belt 440 

154. -4, Glass bead apron (Maiongkong); B, fringed cotton apron belt of Wapi- 

shana and Makusi women; C, loose cotton string apron of the Arekuna 

women 440 

155. Glass bead aprons, showing periwinkle-track and another design 446 

156. Glass bead aprons, showing snake mark and human designs 446 

157. Glass bead aprons, showing scorpion ijattem and frog leg design 446 

158. A. The ite sandal (Makusi); B, bark and clay trumpets from the Orinoco.. 446 

159. Bellied clay trumpets (Moruca River Carib) 452 

160. .4, The "roarer" used in the Jaguar dance; B, the dead Saliva, showing 

wind instruments 452 

161. ^4, Bark trumpet from the Rio Tiquie; B, wooden tube from the Rio Aiary; 

C, bark trumpet from the Rio Uaupes 452 

162. Wooden tubes inserted in carved effigies, used at Parishara dances 452 

163. A, Dance trumpet made of basketry covered with pitch; B, flute made 

from a long-joint bamboo ; C, clay flutes from the Rio Tiquie 456 

164. Bone flageolets 456 

165. A, Pear-shaped gourd flageolet (Moruca River); B, wooden whistle with 

goiu'd as sounding box; 0, Patamona panpipe; D, wooden whistle rep- 
resenting a bird 456 

166. Clay whistles 456 

167. A, Aeolian musical instruments made from stalks of ite palm leaf; B, dance 

stick 464 

168. A, Wapishana rattles; B, dance rattles from the Aiary River 464 


169. .1, Parishara necklace; B, dancer in the Parishara dance; C, Parishara 

headdress; D, beetle wing-cases attached to a ring 464 

170. Skin drums 464 

171. Wooden drums. A, Of the Orinoco (early eighteenth century); B, C, of 

the upper Rio Negro (present day) 468 

172. A, Maize cobs for playing ball; B, shield game of the Warrau; C, playing 

ball at the Patamona \illage of Karikaparu 468 

173. Wrestling sliield of the Moruca River Warrau 496 

174. Wooden dolls (Upper Pomeroon Carib) 496 

175. A, "Catchers"; B, "buzzers" 496 

176. Photographs of engraved rocks, Waraputa P'alls, Essequibo River 496 

177. A, Akawai woodskin from the Mazaruni River; B, canoe with split palm 

sail (Moruca River); C, the sail rolled up for transport; D, corials on 

the Moruca River 612 

178. -4, B, Makusi canoes (Rupununi River); C, boats from Cayenne two cen- 

turies ago 612 

179. A, B, Woodskin on the Rupunimi; C, ascending the rapids 616 

180. A, Raft on Oyapock River (Cayenne); B, frames for the wasp and ant 

ordeals at the Marake marriage ceremony 616 

181. ^4, Makuari whips; B, the white crane, carried in funeral ceremony 646 

182. Cremation of a Roucouyenne 664 

183. The Pono dance 664 


1. Fire obtained by twirling 69 

2. Fire sticks from pedicel of fruit of truli palm 70 

3. Halting of the celt— mainly conjectural 74 

4. Rubber syringe, ring, and ball 83 

5. Manufacture of crab-wood oil 86 

6. Spinning the cotton; stretching and winding it on the wrist 93 

7 . Spindles 94 

8. Spinning the cotton; rolling the spindle down the thigh 95 

9. Bone tips of Oyana and Trio spindles 95 

10. Spindle guards 96 

11. Method of manufacturing three-ply cotton twine '. 96 

12. Bow drill for making three-yam cotton scale lines 96 

13. Cording with one string 97 

14. Cording with three strings 98 

15. Strand plaiting 99 

16. Strand plaiting combined with overcasting 100 

17. Overcasting for feathered strings 101 

18. Overcasting for head circlets 101 

19. Loop plaiting, with four loops 102 

20. Loop plaiting, with five loops 103 

21. Cotton-cord making, %rith two flat split-eye needles 104 

22. Cotton-band making, with two hooked needles 106 

23. Cotton-band making, with four and six rounded split-eye needles 107 

24. Tubular cotton belt 109 

25. Manufacture of ite (mauritia) tvnne HI 

26. Manufacture of Wapishana shoulder strap or band 113 

27. Manufacture of kuraua (Bromeliai twine. 115 

28. Makusi tippet; preparation and fixation of large-sized feathers 123 

29. Fixation of smaller-sized feathers 124 



30. Attachment of smaller-sized feathers to a stick 124 

31 . Diagram to show method of construction of liuck pot 131 

32. ( )ld-time bowl with figurine handles 134 

33. Side view of figure 32 134 

34. Base of four-legged effigy A'essel 135 

35. Pottery effigy ; probably a child's rattle 135 

36. Preparation of itiriti and mamuri strands 138 

37. Forms of weaving — checker and wicker 140 

38 . Forms of weaving — twilled 140 

39. Forms of wea\ing — hexagonal and pentagonal 141 

40. Forms of weaving — crossed quadrilateral 141 

41. Forms of weaving — twined, wrapped, locked or imbricate 142 

42. Bows; details of construction 154 

43. Arrows; method of fixing barb in position 156 

44. The arrow-shaft tightener 157 

45. Method of using the arrow-shaft tightener 157 

46. Cotton decoration of proximal extremity of arrow shaft 158 

47. Gauging the proper length of the aiTow shaft 158 

48. Cotton decoration of distal extremity of arrow shaft 159 

49. Arrows. .4, Head simple, a pencil; B, head compositeand fixed, apencil. . 161 

50. Arrow — head simple, jagged I(i2 

51. Arrow — head composite and fixed, lanceolate 162 

52. AiTow — head composite and fixed, knobbed 164 

.53. Arrow — head composite and fixed, barbed 165 

54. Arrow — head composite and fixed, barbed 166 

55. Arrow — head composite and detachable; harpoon arrow 167 

56. Arrow release 168 

57. Harpoon spear of the Warrau 171 

58. Diagram showing variations in shape of the Guiana club 172 

59. An aconri bench in the Patamona forest : 181 

60. "Flies " for lukunanni 194 

61. Chain-pattern fish net from the Uaupes River 198 

62. Diagram showing mechanism of fish spring-basket trap of the Waiwai 201 

63. Trap for iguana 206 

64. Multiple hook for alligator 208 

65. Tobacco being pressed ; Aiary River 240 

66. Cigar holdei's of the Uaupes Indians 241 

67. Gourds for pouring pepper juice into the nostrils (Makusi ) 247 

68. Banabs or temporary shelters. .4, rectangular type; B, triangular type. . . 251 

69. Simpler form of triangular banab 252 

70. Frame of permanent house, lean-to type 254 

71. Frame of permanent house, arched type; Carib, upper Barima River 255 

72. Circular house — construction of framework, sho«-ing the collar ties of the 

intermediate purlin 256 

73. Walls of circular and elliptical houses 258 

74. Permanent house, elliptical type, with two posts — construction of frame- 

work " 259 

75. Permanent house, rectangular two-post — construction of frame 262 

76. Framework of the Koubouya and Taboiii house (Cayenne) 262 

77. Different methods of tying the rods to the rafters prior to thatching 265 

78. Ite palm-leaf thatch 266 

79. Dallibanna palm-leaf thatch 267 

80. Kokerit palm-leaf thatch 268 



81. Diagram showing evolution of the bench in regard to symmetry, shape, and 

animal representation 275 

82. Makusi girl carrjing the baby stool 276 

83. Types of babracote 277 

84. Stone chip cassava grater: diagram stowdng the lines along which the chips 

are inserted 278 

85. A specially made cassava "canoe" (Makusi) 280 

86. Method of using the cassava squeezer -286 

87. The Makusi and Wapishana cas^va sifter 288 

88. Diagram of farine sifter shown in plate 71 B 289 

89. Manufacture of Arawak fan — sawfish and wishbone patterns 292 

90. Manufacture of Arawak fan — sawfish and wishbone patterns 294 

91. Carib and Akawai fans 296 

92. Examples of drinking troughs 299 

93. Pestles and mortars (wood and bark 1 300 

94. Sketch of sugar mill without the lever 301 

95. Manufacture of the kokerit leaf -strip box 304 

96. Twin earthenware pot .307 

97. Pot stand from the Moruca River 308 

98. Diagram showing the manufacture of mat in plate 90 B . . -' 309 

99. Sewn-up satchel made from a closcwork mat ( .Vrekuna) 311 

100. Diagram showing manufacture of mat satchel in plate 94 B 311 

101. The original diagonally locked open-checker mat from which the Carib 

mat satchel is made 312 

102. The subsequent plaiting up of one of the sides of the preceding 312 

103. Rectangular tray — straight vertical rim, etc. A, B, Wapishana; C, 

Akawai 314 

104. Rectangular tray — edging with three rails above and one rail below 315 

105. Rectangular tray — three rails above and below 315 

106. Miniature table made from rectangular tray 316 

107. Rectangular trays with concave outward-sloping rims 316 

108. Diagram of rectangular hanging tray 317 

109. Manufacture of circular tray by Warrau 318 

110. Circular trays; all Warrau patterns 319 

111. Circular trays; Warrau and Akawai patterns .' 320 

112. Circular tray; edging supported by two rails (Wapishana) 321 

113. Circular tray ; edging supported by three rails (Taruma) 322 

114. Hexagon base of the kau-uri basket 322 

115. Hexagon base basket; single spiral weft, and no extra warps 323 

116. Hexagon base basket; single spiral weft, and six extra warps 323 

117. Waikarapa basket; hexagon base; single spiral weft (from below) 324 

118. Waikarapa basket ; hexagon base; single spiral weft (from side) 325 

119. Diagram showing the base of baskets shown in plate 102 325 

120. Hexagon base basket, single spiral weft ; base started with a central "eye" 

formed of two looped strands 326 

121. Farine basket (Makusi, Wapishana, etc.). .<4, From side; B, from below. 327 

122. Diagram of bottle-shaped basket 328 

123. Diagram of base of basket shown in plate 103 C 328 

124. Tanaba basket, with a slight variation 329 

125. Diagram of basket shown in plate 103 C 329 

126. Diagram of basket shown in plate 104 A 330 

127. Diagram of basket shown in plate 104 B 330 

128. Diagram of basket shown in plates 104 C, 105 G 330 



129. Diagram of baskets shown in plate lOG 331 

130. Circular base basket, diaphragm foundation, a hexagon (Arawak) 331 

131. Basket similar to preceding, but with an interpolated or extra weft (Pata- 

mona) 332 

132. Diagram of basket shown in plate 107 A 333 

133. Diagram of bakoke oval-base basket shown in plate 107 B 334 

134. Details of the Pomeroon district lish creel 33,5 

135. Base of Patamona tish creel shown in plate 108 A 33(i 

136. Diagram of cylindrical itiriti-strand basket 336 

137. Diagram showing construction of conical-base landing-net basket 337 

138. Diagram of closework conical-base basket shown in plate 109 B. 338 

139. TjTJes of rectangular base baskets 338 

140. Rectangular hipped-base basket, spiral weft 339 

141. Rectangular hipped-base basket, spiral weft 339 

142. Rectangular hipped-base basket, spiral weft; the proximal extremity of 

the weft acts as a warp 340 

143. Base of preceding before introduction of secondary weft 340 

144. Base of preceding after introduction of secondary weft 341 

14.5. Diagram of basket shown in plate 110 C 341 

146. Base of preceding 342 

147. Diagram of Wapishana basket shown in plate 109 A 342 

148. Diagram of basket similar to preceding, but with a lid 343 

149. Diagram of liasket shown in plate lllA 343 

1.50. Diagram of checker pattern basket shown in plate 111 B 344 

151. Diagram of pegall shown in plate 112; view of base from outside 345 

152. Base of preceding, viewed from inside 345 

153. Diagram of baskets similar to preceding. .1, Patamona, Makusi; B, 

Arawak 34g 

154. Twilled hourglass pattern pegalls; apparent ^'ariations of pattern due to 

coloration of the strands '. 347 

loo. Unusual form of hourglass pattern (Patamona) 348 

156. Twilled hourglass pattern baskets 348 

157. Hourglass pattern baskets. A, The proper way to build the sides; B, a 

freak 349 

158. Hourglass pattern (twilled) baskets, pegalls, etc.; method of trimming up 

the edges when completed • 350 

159. The Arawak baby rattle 350 

160. Diagram of a single-belly basket 351 

161. Section of a single hourglass pattern compound bowl or basin basket 352 

162. Compound liowl or basin basket; first stage in the making 352 

163. Compound bowl or basin basket; second stage in the making 353 

164. Compound bowl or basin basket; third stage in the making 353 

165. Compound bowl or basin basket; fourth stage in the making 354 

166. Satchels of the Pomeroon River Arawak 354 

167. Hourglass pegall side-panel (uncolored ) patterns 355 

168. Hourglass pegall side-panel patterns ; the wild nutmeg 356 

169. Hourglass pegall side-panel patterns. A, Savanna grass; B, centipedes; 

C-F, periwinkle tracks; G, butterflies 357 

170. Hourglass pegall side-panel pattern ; the scorpion 357 

171. Hourglass pegall side-panel patterns. A, Beetle; B, edible grub 358 

172. Hourglass pegall side-panel patterns. ^, Morokotfish; B, C, tortoise shell; 

D. E, frog; A', decorative border 358 

60160°— 24 5 



173. Hourglass pegall side-panel patterns. Snake: A, showing body alone: 

B, C, head and tail ; D, swallowing a frog :159 

174. Hourglass pegall side-panel patterns. Snake: Its sinuous motion {A, B\: 

when coiled at rest (C); its body markings {D, E, F) :i(;0 

175. Hourglass pegall side-panel patterns. A, Markings on body of camudi 

snake; B, birds in flight; C, their three-claw tracks :iti] 

17(i. pegall side-panel patterns; jaguar, represented Ijy its Ijody 

markings • ?)fi2 

177. Hourglass pegall side-panel patterns. A. jaguar; B, kibihi; C, D. monkey; 

E, deer .3<i3 

178. Hourglass pegall side-panel patterns. A, man; B, dog 304 

179. Hourglass pegall side-panel patterns: dog 3U5 

180. Hourglass pegall side-panel patterns; dog 3(56 

181. Hourglass pegall side-panel patterns; dog 367^ 

182. Hourglass pegall side-panel patterns; meanings unknown 368 

183. The cover of a "freak' ' pegall 369 

184. Half the cover of a "freak" pegall. One quarter shows how the pattern 

is hidden by the coloration of the strands 369 

J.8.5. Examples of cover basketry 372 

186. Manufacture of the knapsack 373 

187. Diagram of Taurepang knapsack shown in plate 118 E, F 374 

188. Diagram of knapsack shown in plate 118 (' 374 

189. Basket, fan, and knapsack (Roucouyenne) (after Cr^vaux ) 375 

190. Diagram of knapsack shown in plate 118 B 376 

191. Diagram of Wapishana and Makusi knapsack; crossed quadrilateral open- 

work mesh after introduction of interpolated strands 376 

192. Diagram of Wapishana and Makusi knapsack; crossed quadrilateral open- 

work mesh before introduction of interpolated strands 377 

193. Diagram of Taurepang knapsack with a dou):ile itiriti strand; similar to 

Patamona article with a doulile mamuri strand, and to Pomeroon 
Carib one with a single itiriti strand :578 

194. Ite-leaf scoop basket 379 

195. Hammock making; frame of two vertical posts; warp horizontal, weft 

vertical; each bar (weft) of two threads 383 

190. Hammock making; frame of two vertical posts; warp horizontal, weft 
vertical; each bar (weft) of four threads; two warps taken up at a 
time 384 

197. Hammock making; similar to preceding, but, except on extreme left and 

right, only a single warp is taken up at a time f 385 

198. Hammock making; similar to preceding, but, except on extreme left and 

right, a single warp is taken up at a time alternately for each bar 385 

199. }ilanufacture of a cotton hammock; diagram to show how vertical warp is 

run indirectly over a head stick, which when pulled out allows the 
article to be removed whole 386 

200. Knobbed spools for hammock making 387 

201. Hammock making; frame of two horizontal timbers; division of front set 

of warps into an anterior and posterior layer, with the permanent 
separator 388 

202. Hammock making; frame of two horizontal timbers; the separator is 

inserted below the permanent one in order to bring forward the pos- 
terior layer (of the front set) of warps, so as to get plenty of space to 
make the raiser iS^ 



203. The raiser (heddle-rod) in course of manufacture around the posterior 

layer (of front set) of warps 390 

204. Hammock making; frame of two horizontal timbers; the temporary sepa- 

rator beino; removed, the posterior layer of (front set of) warps resumes 

its original position, but is now under t'ontrol of the raiser 391 

205. Hammock making; the raiser, on being pulled upon, drags forward the 

posterior layer of (front set of) warps, and in this position the tempo- 
rary separator, beater, or presser. is inserted behind it 392 

206. Patterns of bar (weft ) in Wapishana hammocks 392 

207. Pattern of cotton hammock made with two continuous weft strands, by 

Makusi males 393 

208. Cotton hammock made by crossing each of the two strands composing a 

bar (weft ) fi-om opposite sides 393 

209. Manufacture of the ite (sensoro) hammock of the Warrau 396 

210. Attachment of hammock scale lines 398 

211. Construction of baby sling; frame upon which the cotton strand is wound. 400 

212. Frame looping — two-and-two mesh 401 

213. Frame looping — two-and-one mesh 401 

214. Two-and-two pattern baby sling in course of manufacture 402 

215. Two-and-two pattern baby sling in course of manufacture 402 

216. Two-and-two pattern baby sling in course of manufacture 403 

217. Two-and-two pattern baby sling in course of manufacture 404 

218. Two-and-two pattern bal)y sling in course of manufacture 404 

219. Two-and-two pattern hahy sling; correspondence between front and back 

at level of initial and linal knots 406 

220. Manufacture of two-and-two pattern baby sling; the proper method of 

locking 406 

221. Manufacture of two-and-two pattern baby sling: second method of locking. 407 

222. Manufacture of two-and-two pattern baby sling; the third and easiest 

method of locking 408 

223. Two-and-one pattern baby sling in course of manufacture 409 

224. Two-and-one pattern baby sling in course of manufacture 409 

225. Two-and-one pattern baby sling in course of manufacture 410 

226. Sketch to show portion of completed sling with initial and final knots woven 

in both two-and-two and two-and-one patterns 411 

227. Finishing off the terminals of the locking cords 411 

228. The ear as a wallet ; sketch based on Gumilla"s description 417 

229. Examples of face and arm tattoo 419 

230. Manufacture of certain Patamona and Makusi cylinder-plaited belts. 

A-E, four-loop pattern; F, eight-strand pattern 440 

231. Section of fringed cotton apron belt used by Wapishana and Makusi at 

first menstruation 444 

232. Shape of apron 446 

233. Manufacture of the ite sandal 449 

234. Taruma flutes 455 

235. Method of blowing the Wannisemo-i flute 456 

236. Flageolets. A, Taruma; B, C, Waiwai and Parikuta; D, Parikuta 457 

237. Parikuta panpipe 458 

238. Manufacture of the serore reed instrument 460 

239. Musical stringed instruments. A, The aeolian; B, native-made violin; 

C, the tarimba 462 

240. Method of spinning the top 496 



241. Leaf-strand figures 497 

242. Leaf-strand figures 497 

243. Leaf-strand figures 498 

244. Leaf-strand figures 499 

245. String figures: Position 1 502 

246. Position 1 : opening A 502 

247. Position 1 : opening B 503 

248. Position 1 ; opening C 503 

249. Position 2 503 

250. Position 2 ; opening A 504 

251. Position 2; opening B 504 

252. Position 3 504 

253. Position 3 ; opening A 505 

254. Position 4 505 

255. Position 4 ; opening A 506 

256. Position 4 ; opening B .• 506 

257. The j umping dog-flea f Arawak) 507 

258. Crab ( Wapishana) 507 

259. Cral) (Patamona) 508 

260. Crali ( Waixau) 508 

261. Door of house (Taruma, etc. ) 509 

262. Snake (Warrau) 510 

263. Frog (Patamona, etc. i 510 

264. Palm tree ( Arawak, etc. ) 511 

265. Palm tree (Makusi, etc.) 512 

266. Two palms with intervening path (Carib, etc.) 513 

267. Star ( Wapishana, etc.) 513 

268. The Pleiades (Makusi) 514 

269. The moon (Warrau) 514 

270. The three-bar hammock i Makusi) 515 

271. Forked sticks, hairpins (\A"arrau, etc.) 516 

272. Visitor come-and-gone ( Makusi) 516 

273. Trap, snare (Taruma) 516 

274. Trap, snare (Warrau, etc.) 517 

275. Butterfly ( Warrau ) 517 

276. Two islands joined by a log (Warrau) 517 

277. The sun between two clouds (Warrau) 518 

278. Swamp, with log across; fish under a log (Warrau, etc.) 519 

279. Little fishes (Patamona) 519 

280. Looking glass ( Makusi, etc. ) 520 

281. Skeleton, spirit, ghost (Warrau) 521 

282. Any flat piece of board (Warrau) -. . . 522 

283. Beetle ( Warrau) 522 

284. Quake or basket (Warrau i 523 

285. Bird's nest ' Warrau) 524 

286. Corial i Warrau 1 524 

287. Bird's breastbone (Warrau) 525 

288. Honey; hollow tree trunk (Warrau ) 525 

289. Four fish ' • marching " ( Akawai. etc.) 526 

290. Monkey; caterpillar ( Warrau, etc.) 527 

291. Modem type of fish trap ( creel) (Warrau; 527 

292. Old type of fish trap (creel) (Patamona) 528 

293. Bird trap (Makusi, etc.) 529 



294. String figures: Banab; temporary bush-shelter (Warrau) 529 

295. Two fish traps (creels); a two-post house (Warrau, etc.) 530 

296. Old man's legs hanging out of hammock; acouri jawVjone; baboon's 

voice box ( Akawai, etc. i 531 

297. Old man's legs drawn uj) into hammock I Warrau ) 531 

298. Door (Arawak, etc.) 532 

299. Bat (Makusi) 532 

300. Silk-cotton tree (Warrau) 533 

301. Eagle's nest in silk-cotton tree I Warrau) 533 

302. Four eaglets in nest in silk-cotton tree (Warrau) 534 

303. Night clouds and daylight (preliminary stages) CPatamona) 535 

304. Night clouds and daylight (final stages) 535 

305. Bush ; palm trees (■ Arawak) 536 

306. Dragon fly ( Arawak. etc.) 537 

307. Cow fly (Warrau, etc. i 537 

308. Yarrau fish (Warrau i 538 

309. Ite palm (preliminary stages) (Warrau ) 538 

310. Ite palm (final stages) 539 

311. Mosquito (Warrau i 539 

312. Bird footprints (Warrau ) .540 

313. Bird footprints; little fish (Patamona, etc.) 540 

314. Rainbow; mountain (Makusi) 541 

315. Four-eye fish; annadillo (Warrau. etc.) 541 

316. Sunfish (lukunanni) (Warrau) 542 

317. • Sting ray ("preliminary stages) (Warrau ' 542 

318. Sting ray (final stage) 543 

319. Spider ( Wapishana, etc.) 543 

320. Flying parrot; monkey anus (Makusi) 544 

321. Baby sling I Warrau) 544 

322. •■ Patois ■' fish (Warrau; 545 

323. The woodpecker (Makusi, etc.) 546 

324. Fowl anus ( .Vrawak, etc.) 546 

325. Cutting the fingers (first method) (Arawak, etc.) 547 

326. Cutting the fingers (second method) ( Arawak. etc. i 547 

327. Cutting the fingers (third method) (Wapishana) 548 

328. Hanging trick 548 

329. The bowstring puzzle 549 

330. The stringed sticks puzzle 549 

331. Solution of the stringed sticks puzzle 549 

332. To open two locked sticks 549 

333. Ant frames as instruments of punishment 566 

334. Indian bridge with handrail 609 

335. Manufacture of a woodskin ; diagram to show the wedge removed from the 

outer layer of bark only, and the edges overlapped to raise bow or stem. 615 

336. Diagram of a Carib woodskin from the upper Barama River 616 

337. Types of paddle blade. -4, Circular; B, intermediate; C-F, foliate 617 

338. Pit with excavated chamber, showing urn burial 642 

339. Manufactiu'e of the makuari whip 648 

340. Baby's hanging chair 700 

341. Jaguar bladder enema (Pomeroon River) 705 


(Note. — The followiBg does not claim to be a complete bibliography, but indicatea 
those authors to whom, directly or indirectly, I find myself indebted. Those of their 
works from which excerpts have been taken are initialed. As a large majority of these 
are from works in foreign languages, they are necessarily translations, many of them 
being slightly paraphrased to insure smoother wording of the text. — W. E. R.) 

AC AcuS.v, Christopher de. Relation of the great river of Amazons in .South 

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A Alex.^nder, J. E. Transatlantic sketches. 2 vols. London, 1833. 

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App Appun, C. F. Unter den Tropen. 2 vols. Jena, 1871. 

Unter den Guaraiinos-Indianern. Ahsland, vol. 41, nos. 31 and 

38, Augsburg, 1868; vol. 42, nos. 8 and 9, 1869. 
BA B.\NCROFT, Edw.\rd. Anessay on the natural history of Guiana. London, 

PB.\ B.\RRERE, Pierre. Nouvelle relation de la France equinoxiale. Paris, 

IIWB B.\TEs, Henry Walter. The naturalist on the Amazon. London, 1892. 


LiNGEN. Amsterdam, 1883. 
Bellin, Jacques Nicolas. Description g^ographique de la Guiane. 

Paris, 1763. 
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BER Berkel, Adriaan van. Araerikaansche Voyagien. Amsterdam, 1695. 

BE Bernau, J. n. Missionary labours in British Guiana. London, 1847. 

Biet, a. Voyage de la France equinoxiale en I'isle de Cayenne, en 
Fannie M. DC. LII. Paris, 1664. 
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Bol Bolingbroke, Henry. A voyage to the Demerary. London [1807]. 

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BooY, Theodoor de. See De Booy. 
BoRDE, Fr. de la. See La Borde. 

Breton, R. P. Raymond. Dictionaire caraibe-franfois mesle de quantite 
de remarques historiques pour I'esclaircissement de la langue. Auxerre, 
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BrA Mission work among the Indian tribes. London [n. d.] 

BrP. ^ Legends and myths of the aboriginal Indians of British Guiana. 

London [n. d.]. 
BRI Brinton, Daniel G. The American race. New York, 1891. 

BCL British Colonial Library. See Martin, R. Montgomery. 

BB Brown, C. B. Canoe and camp life in British Guiana. 2d ed. London, 

BL and Lidstone, W. Fifteen thousand miles on the Amazon. Lon- 

don, 1878. 

BRS and Sawkins, Jas. G. Reports on the geology of British Guiana. 

London, 1875. 



B[urton], R. The English hero: or, Sir Francis Drake reviv'd. 4th ed. 

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Man, vol. x, no. 2, pp. 22-24, London, 1910. 
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Jesus del nuevo reyna de Granada en la America. Madrid, 1741. 
Castelnau, Francis de. Expedition dans les parties centrales de TAmer- 
ique du Sud. 4 vols. Paris, 1850-57. 
CO Catalogue op contributions transmitted from British Guiana to the 

London International Exhibition, 1862. Georgetown, 1862. 
GO Catlin, George. Life among the Indians. London [n. d.]. 

Chaffanjon, J. L'Orfeoque et le Caura. Paris, 1889. 
DAC Chanca, Diego Alvarez. The letter of Dr. Diego Alvarez Chanca, 

dated 1494, relating to the second voyage of Columbus to America. 
(Translated from the original with notes and remarks.) By A. M. 
Fernandez de Ybarra. Smithsonian Misc. Colls., \o\. xlviii, pp. 
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Cou Coudreau, H. a. La France equinoxiale. 2 vols. Paris, 1887. 

Cr Crevaux, J. Voyages dans I'Amerique du Sud. Paris, 1883. 

Dalton, Henry G. The history of British Guiana. 2 vols. London, 
Da Dance, Cha.s. Daniel. Chapters from a Guianese log-book. Demerara, 

Davies, John, tr. Tlie history of the Caribby-Islands. In two books, 
with a Caribbian vocabulary. Rendered into English by John Davies. 
London, 1866. [For the original work See Rochefort.] 
DW Davies, William. A description and discovery of the Ri\er of Amazons. 

In Purchas, Samuel, Hakluytus posthumus or Purchas his pilgrimes, 
vol. XVI, pp. 413-116, Glasgow, 1906. 
TDB, i De Booy, Theodoor. Lucayan artifacts from the Bahamas. Amer. 
Anthr., n. s. xv, pp. 1-7, Lancaster, 1913. 

TDB, ii Certain kitchen middens in Jamaica. /6m/., pp. 425-434. 

TDB, iii Pottery from certain ca^■es in eastern Santo Domingo, West Indies. 

Ibid., n. s."xvii, pp. 69-97, 1915. 
FD Depons, F. Travels in parts of South America, during the years 1801, 

1802, ] 803, 1804. London, 1806. In Phillips, Richard, Coll" of Modern 
Voyages and Travels, vol. iv, London, 1806. 
Drake, Sir Francis. See B[urton], R. 
DF Duff, Robert. British Guiana. Glasgow, 1866. 

Du Tertre, Jean Baptiste. Histoire generale des Antilles. 4 vols. 
Paris, 1667-71. 
PE Ehrenreich, Paul. Die Mythen und Legenden der Siidamerkanischen 

Urvolker. Berlin, 1905. fSuppl. to 7eilschrift filr Ethnologie, 37. 
Jahrgang, Berlin, 1905.") 
Farabee, Wm. C. The central Arawaks. Univ. Pa. Mus., Anthr. Pubis., 
vol. ix, Phila., 1918. 

— The central Caribs. 

FE Fermin, Philippe. Description generale, historique, geographique et 

physique de la colonie de Surinam. 3 vols. Amsterdam, 1769. 
JWF, i Fewkes, J. Walter. An Antillean statuette, with notes on West Indian 
religious beliefs. Amer. Anthr., n. s. xi, pp. 348-358, Lancaster, 1909. 

JWF, ii Porto Rican elbow-stones in the Heye Museum. Ibid., n. s. xv, 

pp. 43.5-459, 1913. 

JWF, iii Relations of aboriginal culture and environment in the Lesser 

Antilles. Bull. Amer. Geog. Soc., vol. XLVi, pp. 662-678, New York, 


JWF, iv Fbwkes, J. Walter. Prehistoric objects from a shell-heap at Erin Bay, 

Trinidad. Amer. Anthr., n. s. xvi, pp. 200-220, Lancaster, 1914. 
JWF, V Engraved celts from the Antilles. Contrib. Heye Mus., vol. ii, 

no. 3, New York, 191.5. 
•TWF, vi The aborigines of Porto Rico and neighboring islands. Tirenty- 

fifth Ann. Rept. Bur. Amer. Ethn., Washington, 1907. 
GF Friederici, Georo. Scalping in America. Smithsonian Re pi. for 190S, 

pp. 423-438, Washington, 1907. 
Galard-Terraube, Vic. de. Neue Reise nach Cayenne. Leipzig, 1799. 
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GO Goeje, C. H. de. Beitrage zur Volkerkunde von Surinam. Int. Archiv 

fur Ethnog., Bd. xix, pp. 1-34, Leiden, 1910. 
GOE Bijdrage tot de Ethnographic der Surinaamsche Indianen. 76?V., 

Bd. XVII, Suppl., 1906. 
GOL Goeldi, Emilio A. Excavai;oes archeologicas em 1S9-5. Mem. Miis. Para. 

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GB Grillet, Jean, and BECH.-iMEL, Francis. A journal of the travels of 

John G. Grillet and Francis Bechamel into Guiana in the year 1674. 

London, 1698. 
G GuMiLLA, Joseph. Historia natural, ci^-il y geografica de las naciones 

situadas en las rivieras del Rio Orinoco. 2 vols. Barcelona, 1791. 
Hancock, John. Climate, soil, and productions of British Ciuiana. Lon- 
don, 1835. 
HR Harcourt, Robert. A relation of a voyage to Guiana. In Purchas, 

Samuel, Hakluytus posthumus or Purchas his pilgrimes, vol. xvi, pp. 

3.58^02. Glasgow, 1906. 
HRT Hartsinck, Jan Jacob. BeschryA'ing van Guiana of de Wildekust in 

Zuid-America. Amsterdam, 1770. 
Hl. [Herlein], J. D. Beschrj^dnge van de Volk-plantinge Zuidname. 

Leeuwarden, 1718. 
Herrera, Antonio de. Historia general de los hechos Castellanos en 

las islas i tierre firme del mar oceano. Tomos i-v. Madrid, 1720. 
HIA HiLHOUSE, William. Journal of a voyage up the Massaroony in 1831. 

Jour. Roy. Geog. Soc, vol. iv, pp. 25—40. London, 1834. 

HiB The Warow land of British Guiana. Ibid., pp. 321-333. 

HiC Notices of the Indians settled in the interior of British Guiana. 

Ibid., vol. II, pp. 227-249, 1832. 
TH HucKERBY, Thomas. Petroglyphs of Saint Vincent, British West Indies. 

Amer. Anthr., n. s. xvi, pp. 238-244, Lancaster, 1914. 
AVH Humboldt, Alex.4.nder von. Personal narrative of travels to the 

equinoctial regions of America. 3 vols. London, 1852-.53. 
Hunter, Chas. A Report upon some of the colonial medical contri- 
butions to the International Exhibition, 1862. London, 1862. 
IT Im Thurn, Everard F. Among the Indians of Guiana. London, 1883. 

WI Irving, Washington. The life and voyages of Christopher Columbus: 

to which are added those of his companions. London, 1884. 
Je Jenman, G. S. To Kaieteur [in 1881]. Georgetown, 1907. 

WJ JoEST, W. Ethnographisches und Verwandtes aus Guayana. Int. Arch. 

fiir Ethnog., Band v, Supple., Leiden, 1893. 
FPJ Josa, F. P. L. Theapostle to the Indians: The life and labours of WilUam 

- Henry Brett. London, 1887. 
AK Kappler, A[ugust]. Sechs Jahre in Surinam. Stuttgart, 1854. 

Surinam. Stuttgart, 1887. 

Hollandisch Guiana. Stuttgart, 1881. 

Keye, O. Kurtzer Entwurf von Neu-Niederland und Guayana. Leipzig, 


Keymis, Laurence. A relation of the second voyage to Guiana per- 
formed and written in the yeere 1596. In Hakluyt 's collection of 
early voyages, travels, and discoveries. A new edition. Vol. iv, 
pp. 160-i89, London, 1811. 
Ki KiRKE, Henry. Twenty-iive years in British Guiana. London, 1898. 

KG Koch-Grunberg, Theodor. Zwei Jahre unter den Indianem. Reisen 

in Nordwest Brasilien, 1903-5. 2 vols. Berlin, 1910. 

KGF Sudamerikanische Felszeichnungen. Berlin, 1907. 

KGG Abschluss meiner Reise durch Nordbrasilien zum Orinoco. 

Zeitsch.filr Ethn. 45. Jahrgang, Heft in, pp. 448-474, Berlin. 1913. 
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Jahrgang, Heft in-rv, pp. 546-563, Berlin, 1911. 
Labat, Jean Baptiste. Nouveau voyage aux isles de I'Atnerique. 
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Voyage du Chevalier des Marchais en Guin^e. isles voisinep. et 

a Cayenne, fait en 1725, 1726, & 1727. 4 vols. Amsterdam. 1731. 
PBR La Borde, Pbre de. History of the origin, customs, religion, wars, and 

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G. J. A. Bosch-Reitz. Timehri, vol. v, pp. 224-254, Demerara, 1886. 
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LCo A succinct abridgment of a voyage made within the inland parts 

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WER, i 

WER, ii 

WER, iii 
WER, iv 
WER, \i 














PiTou, L. A. Voyage a Cayenne. 2(1 e<l. 2 vols. Paris, 1807. 
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iSome technological notes from the Pomeroon District, British 

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Ibid., Part II, vol. xl, pp. 2:i-38, 1910. 

Ibid., Part III, vol. xli, pp. 72-82, 1911. 

Ibid., Part IV, vol. XLii, pp. 529-540, 1912. 

An inquiry into the animism and folklore of the Guiana Indians. 

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A description of British Guiana. Loudon, 1840. 

Journey to the sources of the Essequibo. Jour. Roy. Geog. Soc., 

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Journey from Fort San Joaquim to Roraima. Ibid., pp. 191-247. 

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Visit to the sources of the Takutu. Ibid., vol. xiii, pp. 18-75, 

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negroes of Surinam. 2 vols. London, 179(i. 
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— — — • Unter den Naturvolkern Zentral-Brasiliens. Berlin, 1894. 
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[n. d.] 
ARW Wallace, A. R. A narrative of travels on the .\mazon and Rio Negro. 

London, New York, and Melbourne, 1889. 
Warren, George. An impartial description of Surinam. London, Kili". 
W Waterton, Chas. Wanderings in South America. London, 1891. 

Wickha.m, H. a. Rough note of a journey from Trinidad to Para via the 
Orinoco and Rio Negro. London, 1872. 
JW Wilson, .John. The relation of Master John Wilson of Wanstead in E.sgex, 

one of the last ten that returned into England from Wiapoco in Guiana 
IGOf). In Purchas, Samuel, Hakluytus posthumus or Purchas his 
pilgrimes, vol. .xvi, Glasgow, 190(5. 
Winter, .\lexander. Indian pictured rocks of Guiana. Georgetown, 

Ybarra, Fernandez de. See Chanca. 

Zimmermann, Captain. [Articles in Het Nieuws van den Dm/ and in 
Eigen. Haard, prior to 1884.] 

During the course of my investigations in the interior I received a 
great deal of assistance from Messrs. H. P. C. Melville and John 
Ogilvie, well-known cattle ranchers who have spent a large portion 
of their lives there. The original and very valuable information 
obtained from them is indicated in the text by the initials (MEL) 
and (JO) respectively. 



Chapter I 

Fire: Obtained by rtibbing and twirling (1); by flint and sleel (2); carried from place 

to place (3); an aid to timber work (4); an illuminant (5). 
Stone celts and axes (6): Tvpes of pattern (7); fixation in handles (8)- manufacture 

Tortoise-shell axes (10). 
Engraved celts (11). 
Stone adzes and chisels (12). 
Knives: Stone (13); wood(14i; fish-tooth (15). 
Scrapers: Stone (16); shell (17); tooth (18). 
Drills and drilling (19, 20); sandpaper (21). 
Modifications with introduction of iron (22). 

1. The island Carib practiced the art of making fire by friction 
between two pieces of maho (hibiscus), but judging from Rochefort's 

Fig. 1. — Fire obtained by twirling. (Alter Barrere. ) 

comparison with wliat took place on the Amazon (RO, 494-495) 
it is clear that the method used was rubbing, not twirling. The 
latter (fig. 1) was evidently characteristic of the mainland, as in 
Cayenne (PBA, 178), on the Corentyn (StC, i, 319), among the 
Makusi (SR, ii, 96-97), etc. The first English account of obtaining 
fire by twirling is given b}^ St. Clair from the Arawak of the Corentyn, 
who used the heri-heri (j^arri-yarri). In one of two pieces of stick 
belonging to it they cut a small notch, in which was inserted the end 




[eTH. ANN. 38 

of the other stick, held perpendicularly, the friction caused by 
twirling the latter round and round with the palms of their hands 
for a few minutes producing fire. They then light the maroon, which 
is a peculiar species of moss collected by the ants in great quantities 
from the leaves of the behersda tree as material for their nests. The 
Indians rob them of this moss, which sei-ves the purpose of tinder 
(StC, I, 319). Like the Island Carib, the Indians of Cayenne made 
an especial use of maho; but they manufactured their fire sticks also 
from the wood of cacao and ruku (PBA, 178). The Makusi em- 
ployed the timber of the Apeiha glabra Aubl., with tinder from the 
debris collected by ants from some Jlfelastomacese (SR, ii, 96-97). 
The Arawak of the Pomeroon made their apparatus from the fruit 
pedicel of the truli (fig. 2) or of the kokerit, but as the twdrler under 
such circumstances was too short for manipulating, it was firml}- tied 
to a long pencil. Warrau used (ruaUheria uregon Aubl. (IT, 257). 
On the Moruca thev maimfactured both constituents from the 

Fig. 2.— Fire sticks from pedicel of fruit of truli palm. 

timber of a tree known to them as buri, which I have not been able 
to identify. The Arawak medicine men alone made them out of a 
certain vine. In all three cases the tinder was a pad of raw cotton. 
Another timber put to the same use by the Carib of the Barama 
and Waini, and also by the Warrau, was the trjsil or koroballi 

2. When, as on a hunting expedition, it becomes necessary to strike 
fire anew, and no matches are available, still other means than those 
just outlined remain at the Indians' disposal; for example, either 
-with flint and steel, or rather with jasper and an old knife (pi. 2 B, C), 
in conjunction with a bit of raw cotton. Specimens are still to be 
seen of a tinder box made of bamboo containing cotton and an 
attached piece of ii'on file (pi. 2 A). Old xVrawak from the Essequibo 
have assured me that they can remember the time when their people 
used to catch fire with two "stones" and cotton (WER, vi, sec. 122), 
but though it is reasonabh' certain such a practice must have preceded 
the fUnt and steel stage, I have met with no reference to it throughout 



A, Tinder box with cotton and iron file. Maloasi. S, C, Firestoncs and old iron blade. (George- 
town Museum.) 





.1, B, Elongated aud curved celts, a cutting edge at each extremity. Sandhills, Demcrara River. 
C-E, Small-sized celts, butt trimmed and rounded, cutting edge inclined to be straight. Demcrara 
and Essequibo Rivers. F-H, Larger, more rounded and heavier celts, truncated butt, aud a 
rounded cutting edge. Corentjm River. I-K, Celts with attenuated pointed butts, cutting edge 
straight or rounded. Potaro River. (Georgetown Museum.) 


the literaturp. I have seen several specimens of the "fire stones." 
Red and green jasper stones, on account of their extra hardness, are 
eagerly sought by the Arekuna at Roraima, and traded as far as the 
coast (App, .1, 281). The Akawai brought with them from Roraima 
pieces of jasjjer which are in great request lower down on the Mazaruni 
and on the coast for striking fire (App, ii, 1(57). Schomburgk also 
speaks of flint-stones for catching fire (Sr, ii, 252). 

3. It has been pointed out that among the natives fire has seldom 
to be lighted afresh, for it is kept constantly burning in every house, 
and even on long canoe joiu-neys a large piece of smoldering timber is 
usually carried (on an earthen hearth). Even when walking across 
the savanna an Indian sometimes carries a firebrand (IT, 327). 
On the Rio Tiquie at the present time the Bara carry with them 
from stream to stream a box made from a segment of bamboo-reed, 
with a hole drilled through its base, to allow the air to fan the glowing 
tinder within, a substance obtained from a certain ant's nest. In 
this way they are provided with the means of lighting a new fire 
without much trouble (KG, i, 337). 

4. To fell a tree the Carib Islanders were obliged to set fire to its 
base, surrounding it above with moistened moss to prevent the fire 
ascending; thus they underrriined the tree little by little (RO, 508). 
On the mainland, in Cayenne, the larger trees were also felled by the 
application of fire to their trunks (PBA, 152). On the Orinoco, 
even in Gumilla's day, many of the Indians manufactured their 
weapons, drums, and canoes by the aid of fire and water only, at a 
cost of much time and patience. By the action of fire, from time to 
time blowing on the cinders, they destroy and remove as much as is 
not required, and by means of water, which is kept always at hand, 
they quench the fire so as not to waste more wood than is necessary. 
So slow is this labor that its advance can be compared with the rate 
at which plants grow (G, ii, 99). Again Gumilla speaks of the 
Indians' spades or shovels for digging in the field as being formed of a 
verj- hard timber; these also are shaped by burning some parts and 
leaving others free, not without skill and symmetry, at an expendi- 
ture of much time (G, ii, 229). 

5. Fire, once caught, could be applied for illuminating purposes 
through the agency of beeswax, certain gums, and even of the timber 
itself. Thus torches, or rather wax candles, made of cotton threads 
drawn through melted beeswax until the requisite size was obtained, 
were found among the Carib of the Upper Pomeroon (SR, ii, 420) 
and as I have occasionally observed, the Akawai of the Barinia 
(SR, I, 206), and Makusi on the Essequibo (ScG, 230). Bancroft 
had previously drawn attention to this application of beeswax after 
purification l)y melting, steaming, and boiling: from this, he says, 


the Indians make all their candles by dipping long wicks of cotton 
into it and then rolling them into balls (BA, 231). Humboldt de- 
scribes certain torches on the Rio Tomo, Orinoco, as tubes made of 
bark, 3 inches in diameter, filled with copal resin (AMI, ii, 204). 
I have met with similar ones of smaller dimensions among the 
Pomeroon Akawai. In many parts, the Indians, instead of oil, 
light themselves -aath the copal, bound round with the leaves of the 
banana tree; others, for the same end, make use of certain seeds, 
put within the hollow of a pointed rod which, being run mto the earth, 
serves at the same time as a candlestick (LCo, 39). In a Makusi 
camp at the Warraputa Falls, Essequibo, Schomburgk saw haiowa 
gum in use as a substitute for candles. This not only gave a good 
light but perfumed the air with its incense-like odor (ScG, 230). 
On the other hand, though the Essequibo Indians bimied rubber 
Qievea) as candles, which furnished a brilliant hght, the scent at the 
time of burning was not very agreeable (StC, n, 104). 

6. The islanders at the 'time of the conquest used stone celts. 
Thus writes Chanca: None of the natives of these islands [Guade- 
loupe, Porto Rico, Santo Domingo] we have visited, possess any iron. 
They have, however, many implements, also hatchets and axes, all 
made of stone, which are so handsome and well finished that it is a 
wonder how they can contrive to make them without emplonng 
iron. (DAC, 455.) 

So, on the mainland, celts were used up to comparatively recent 
periods. On the Orinoco with their hatchets made of a stone with 
a cutting edge at each end, inserted midway in suitable handles 
(Jiachas de pedemal de dos bocas, o de dos cortes, encaxandolas pvr el 
medio en garrotes projyorcionados) the Indians would cut the green 
stems of the brambles and briers (maleza). It took them two months 
to cut down a tree (G, ii, 229). I obtained such a celt (pi. 3 A, B) 
from the Moruca Warrau through their captain, who told me that it 
came "from Orinoc side." In Cayemie Barrere speaks of similar 
difficulties experienced by certain of the Indians out of touch with 
Europeans, in clearing their fields, who know of felling large trees 
only by means of fire applied to their trunks, a procedure not only 
laborious but requiring much time. Others employ small hatchets, 
made of pieces of a very hard black stone, 4 or 5 inches long, to 
wliich they give the shape of our axes by rubbmg them on sandstone. 
The handles consist of a piece of very hard wood wherein they cut 
a socket (fente) to hold the base of the stone with Pitte (Kuraua) 
thread and Many (Karrimanni) reshi, wliich they soften, so that it 
takes the place of a godroon (PBA, 152). The mention of the use of 
the thread suggests that the double narrow-grooved stone ax is re- 
ferred to, as otherwise it is hard to see for what purpose it could be 


applied (sec. S). Certain celts were very probably intended for 

7. As to the types of celt and ax found in the Guianas, there are 
certain more or less distinct groups to one or the other of which I 
believe all specimens may be assigned. These groups can be recog- 
nized as follows, but it is only proper to admit at the outset that the 
distinctive peculiarities of some may become imperceptibly merged 
into those of others (except perhaps in the first series), there being 
no hard and fast line of demarcation. In all probability the type 
largely depended upon the shape in which the water- worn pebble 
was originally found (sec. 9). 

i. The first group is distinguished from all the othei-s by the 
presence of a cutting edge at each extremity (pi. 3 A, B), of which one 
may be larger than the other. The celt is elongate and curved, but 
there is no notch or groove for the attachment of a handle as men- 
tioned by Gumilla (sec. 6). Personally, I am inclined to think that 
it may also have been held by the middle in the hand (sec. 8). 

ii. The second group (pi. 3 C, D, E) includes those comparatively 
small specimens with the butt more or less trimmed in the smaller ones 
for insertion into the socket of a haft, as with certain of the clubs 
(sec. 153). The cutting edge is approximately straight. 

iii. Larger specimens with truncated butts (pi. 3 F, G, H) and 
rounded cutting edges comprise a third group, the members of wliich 
are further characterized by being comparatively squat and heavy. I 
see no reason why these celts may not have been used without handles. 

iv. Narrow flattened celts with markedly pointed butts (pi. 3 
I, J, K) are distinctive of this class. They may be described as nearly 
petaloid in form and as showing but very rarely (I believe in only two 
specimens in the Georgetown Museum) any indication of a groove. 
The cutting edge is straight or rounded. These celts may have 
been hafted into oval-slit boards (sec. 8). 

V. The so-called grooved axes, each provided with a notch or 
groove above and below, which may be either very sharp and narrow 
or correspondingly blunt and open, all intermediate stages being 
noticeable (pi. 4). In the former extreme the butt is more or less 
squat and scjuared; in the latter it is markedl}^ convex, occasionally 
almost attenuated (IT, pi. x, fig. 4), but its edge, straight or convex, 
remains blunt. The blade, with no sign of a groove across it, is gen- 
erally rounded, but in some specimens takes the shape of a European 
hatchet. The method of fixation of celts belonging to this fifth type 
is a matter that is still in doubt (sec. 8). 

8. In the very rare specimens still extantof celts fixed in rectangular- 
section wooden handles (sec. 153), the stone is secured by fitting 
its base into an opening cut to receive it with exactness, and by the 

60160°— 24 6 



(eTH. ANS. 3S 

aid of resin (fig. 3, a); the fixation is independent of the use of thread 
and the celt is without grooves. Barrere's description above quoted 
(sec. 6) would therefore evidently refer to the sharp and narrow- 
grooved axes (sec. 7, v), in which, as I believe it may be reasonably 
supposed, the method of fixation adopted was somewhat after the 
style sketched in the illustration (fig. 3, c), the object of the grooves 
being solely to secure the kuraua twine in position. The nature of the 
wooden handle to which the more blunt and open-grooved ax was 
attached is hard to understand, unless it partook of the Australian 
type (fig. 3, d) — a withe bent double and fixed with gum cement 
and twine; but this is pm-e conjecture. At the same time it is 
possible that an ax of this extreme t^-pe may have been fixed in the 

same way as the stone 
and copper T-shaped Pe- 
ruvian ones. So, also, 
the wooden handle fixed 
midway on the stone celts 
with cutting edges at both 
ends (pi. 3 A, B) is diffi- 
cidt to miderstand; were 
it in the form of a board 
with an oval slit (fig. 3, 
b) as in certain North 
American forms, the grip 
on the celt would certainly 
be tightened when the 
larger end was used, but 
correspondingly loosened 
when the smaller ex- 
tremity was worked. Of 
couree such an oval-slit 
board would answer the 
purpose admirably with 
that form of celt (pi. 3 I, 
J, K) in which the contour gradually tapers from the cutting edge to 
more or less of a point. The whole subject of fixation, however, re- 
quires much further investigation, for we may be sure that some of 
these celts have been used as adzes and for similar purposes without 
handles. It is also possible that GumOla may have been mistaken 
about his double-edged axes (sec. 6), which it seems to me could have 
been worked far more profitably and expeditiously by hand. Again, 
it is quite feasible that certain of the higldy specialized forms, for 
example, those with a double open groove, may have been used for 
dance or decorative purposes, and even if secured at all may have 
been fixed in a manner quite unknown to us. 

Fig. 3.— Hafting of the celt. Mainly conjectural. 


9. It is clear that celts were manufactured by at least two meth- 
ods — grinding down various fragments broken fi-om rocks, and grind- 
ing down water-worn pebbles already possessing more or less the con- 
tour and size required. To make their celts the Indians told Gumilla 
that they used to break the desired fragments by the use of other 
stones, and then grind them on very smooth rocks with the help 
of water to give them the necessary shape and edge, but he never 
witnessed their manufacture (G, ii, 229). Evidence of this grinding 
process in the smooth artificial furrows or grooves met with on the 
rocks at the waterside, either along the seaport or at river rapids, is 
very abundant throughout theGuianas from Cayenne (Cr, 7, 16, 143, 
152, 172) to the Orinoco.' I know of only one celt specimen in the 
rough, that is, in the stage after breaking and chipping and before 
grinding; it seems extraordinary that more such fragments should not 
have been found. The celt in question came from the Potaro River, 
was forwarded to the Smithsonian Institution, and reported upon 
by Mi-. William H. Holmes as follows: '' The implement-like specimen 
forwarded by Dr. Roth is of impure gray limestone, roughly shaped 
by chipping, the shape being that of a thick ovoid blade, having the 
broad and narrow ends characteristic of the celt fairly well developed. 
In type, it resembles somewhat certam of the well-known 'paleolithic' 
implements of Europe. A portion of the original surface appears 
on the flatter side, but traces of wear by use, if there were such, have 
been obliterated by weathering. The chip or fracture facets are, 
however, clearly discenuble, the latter margins having been some- 
what rounded by frequent blows. Specimens very similar are 
common in workshop sites in the United States where celts are 
roughed out preparatory to completion by pecking and grinding. ' ' 

10. On the Amazon, when first visited by the Spaniards, were 
tribes who made axes of stones, which they ground to an edge with 
main strength. These axes were much stronger than those of tor- 
toise shell and would cut down any great tree which the natives de- 
sired to fell, with less fear of breaking them and with much more 
speed (AC, 91). The art of manufacture of such tortoise-shell axes 
and hatchets has come dowii to us. The Indians cut the hardest 
part of the tortoise shell, which is that under the belly, into "leaves" 
of about a hand's breadth, and not quite so thick as one's hand. 
After having dried a "leaf" in smoke they whet it upon a stone; 
then, fastening it into a wooden helve, they make use of this tool to 
cut everything they fancy as well as if it were the best ax that can be 
fashioned but with a little more pains. They make their hatchets of 
the same material and the handles they put on them is a pegebuej^'s 
(manati's) jaw bone, which nature seems to have purposely fitted 

• For a proper appreciation of tlie subject the reader is advised to consult my work on the present-day 
manufacture of stone implements in Northeastern Australia, in North Queensland Ethnography, Bulletin 
No. 5 (Domestic Implements, etc.) Brisbane, 1901. 


for their use. With these instruments they finish all their work, 
not only canoes, but tables, cupboards, seats, and other household 
goods, as completely as if they had the best joiners' tools that are in 
use among us (AC, 90). There are references to such tortoise-shell 
axes in the folklore of the present-day Guiana Indians («. g., WER, 
VI, sec. 22). 

11. In the Georgetown Museum are three engraved celts that came 
from around the Demerara River (pi. 5 A, B). Except for size — one 
is 353 mm. long and the smallest somewhat more than 200 — they are 
practically identical. Below the head, with its mouth and ears 
bearing a resemblance to an acouri, though its likeness to that of a 
four-eyed fish has been suggested, are two pecked grooves, the anterior 
covering half the nape of the neck, the posterior completely encir- 
cling it. Below these rings is the median convex dorsal ridge leading 
to the rounded adze-like extremity of the implement. The ventral 
surface of the body, which is concave, shows no ridging. 

12. Besides the possibility of having been employed as wedging, 
cutting, or scraping implements, many of the celts already noted may 
have been used both as axes and adzes by the simple device of shifting 
the handle fixation from a vertical to a horizontal plane. I have both 
observed and recorded (op. cit.) this manner of arrangement, according 
to the purpose for which the celt is required, from among the North 
Queensland savages. In the Georgetown Museum is a beautiful 
green stone specimen of what seems to be either a specialized type of 
double-edge chisel (pi. 5 C, D), though I admit ignorance of any such 
analogous implement elsewhere, or more probably a sort of sculptor's 
tool for smoothing, modeling, or stamping the designs on the effigy 
vessels and pot figurines {e.g., pis. 31 A; 32 A). As a matter of fact, up 
to the present time, Indians use a pebble stone for such purposes in 
pottery manufacture (sec. 91). 

13. Celts were employed also as knives and scrapei-s, the cutting 
edge, though irregular and discontinuous, being obtauied by flaking, 
from both sides, the section of the margin where it had been broken 
away from its original matrix. No particular care seems to have 
been taken to secm-e any special contour or to gi-md away irregulari- 
ties. Such stone knives have been seen in use by the Waiwai as 
late as 1906; the specimens, which were 5 to 6 mches long, were 
employed in cutting up cassava root (JO). I am told that an exactly 
similar specimen was found among the heaps of fragments strewn 
around the quarry, a small outcrop of rock about 6 miles southeast 
of Dadanawa on the upper Rupunmii. Two other stone knives 
which I found, weatherworn, in the neighborhood of the same stream, 
show a further development m that they have been given a distinctly 
rounded contour by skillful and careful chippmg (pi. 6 G). Agam, 
in a shell mound between the upper Pomeroon and the head of 



A, B. South rannkii ^rollnfaills. C, D. South raiuiku Momitaius and Riiptimini lUvor. 
E, F, East coast Deraorara and Barima Eivers, respectively. (Georgetown jrnsenm.) 




A , B, Engraved celts, from Sandhills, Dcmcrara River. C, D, Greenstone specimen, of problematical use, 
possibly a chisel or sculptor's tool. (Georgetown Museum.) 







■V- .. ,^-J 








A , Use of scraper made of bush hog's lower jaw. (After Crt^vaux ; 


B, Drill, rolled on the tliisli. (After Crevaux.) 


Akawinni Creek, superficially examined by me in 1911, were found 
several small fragments of quartz (e. g., pi. 6 E, F, L), with chipped 
edges, seemingly used as knives for hacking away the flesh from human 
bones, the masses of which reasonably precluded any other purpose 
than the one suggested ; furthermore, such quartz is not found in the 
immediate neighborhood, and must have been piu-posely brought 
from a distance. vSimilar finds have been recorded from other 
moimds (sec. 77.3). 

14. Knives were made of materials other than stone. The reed 
knife was found in Brazil, Guiana, and the southeastern part of North 
America (GF, 423-438), but the accoimts of it from the Guianas are 
rare. An old bush negro captain in Surinam told de Goeje that some 
50 years previously the Trio used very sharp knives made of bamboo 
(GO, 5). With the Makusi of our own colony the navel string of a 
male child was severed with a sharply cut bamboo ; that of a female 
with a piece of arrow reed (SR, ii, 313").^ 

15. On the Orinoco Gumilla speaks of the teeth of the pu-ai fish 
being so sharp that the Quirruba, and others who dispense with 
their hair, employ them iiistead of scissors, for cutting it, by fixing 
the jaws m place and tymg the ends together with twuie (G, ii, 209). 
A similar practice would seem to have obtamed elsewhere in the 
Guianas: the teeth were certainly commonly used as scrapers for 
sharpening the poisoned darts for the blowpipe. A fish-tooth knife 
was employed also in the Chaco and throughout Brazil (GF, 423-438). 

16. In the workuig of a fragment of rock into a celt many flakes 
would be obtained which on occasion could serve as scrapers. Or a 
scraper could be made as required on the wayside — I have picked up 
dozens of them while wanderijig along the pathways over the Paka- 
raima ranges. These pieces (23I. 6 A-D, H-K) are interesting as in- 
dicating the practice of the stone-chipping art in a new locality. 

17. Other scrapers can be made from snail shell and similar hard 
materials. Even by the aid of fire and water alone, states Gumilla 
(G, II, 100), after havmg removed sufficient from a stick to give it the 
shape of a spear, club, or arrow, a task no less wearisome and trouble- 
some presents itself. The Ormoco Indians seek or already possess 
a quantity of snails of an extra large size that thrive in areas subject 
to mundation, the shells of which they break up, thus securing chips 
having a cuttmg edge like a glass jug when broken. It is by means 
of these chips, combmed with time and perseverance, that they give 
the finishing touches and gloss to their bows and incredible fineness 
to their spears and aiTows (G, 11, 99). The shell scrapers, etc., from 
Barbados, of wliich many fakes have been put on the market for 
the tourist traffic, were made from the central spire or the spreading 
undulating lip of the Queen conch (Ti., vol. v, 1918, p. 54). 

' In the Gran Chaco wooden knives are still used for scaling and cutting up fish and in eating water- 
melons (NOR, 60-61). 


18. Yet other scrapers have been recorded. Crevaux describes 
an interestmg primitive form made of a bush hog's lower jaw (pi. 7 A) 
from which the ascending rami have been removed, the canine teeth 
shaving away the timber as desired. He saw the tool emjiloyed by 
Emerillons m the manufacture of bows (Cr, 168). The Taruma and 
Waiwai use bush hogs' teeth fitted mto the ends of a wooden handle, 
decorated with feathers, for a similar purpose (JO). Tlie palate 
bones of certain fish, and the teeth of certain others, as the pirai, can 
also be used as scrapers, for example, in sharpening the poisoned 
darts used with the blowguii. Father Acuna, speaking of the 
Amazon Indians, has mentioned that tlieir cliisels, planes, and 
wimbles were made of wild hogs' teeth and of the horns of other 
animals, which they inserted into wooden handles (AC, 91). 

19. There is a record of the Carib Islanders piercing the shell 
bugles for their necklaces, but seemingly no mention is made of the 
details (PBR, 23.3). So also the necklets, armlets, etc., of the Caberre 
and of many Carib women on the Orinoco, made of beads from snail 
shells, must have been perforated, but there is no account of how the 
work was done (G, i, 125). At the present day in the Uaupes River 
district the drilling of seed, fruit shells, teeth, etc., for necklace and 
other ornaments is efiected by means of a bone drill. This is made 
of a pomted fragment of monkey (Lagothrix) bone fixed with kia-aua 
thread and cement into a pencil handle which is twirled with both 
hands. Wlien not available this drill may be replaced by a bone 
or iron-pointed arrow (KG, I, 124). Again, in the making of the 
slot running along the arrow head, into which the barb will be sub- 
sequently fastened, some five or six holes are carefully drilled in close 
apposition by twirling lietween both hands (like the fire stick) an 
artificially pointed monkey-bone splinter held vertically; the sub- 
stance remaining between the holes is subsequently picked and 
broken away, and the slot is thus gradually formed (sec. 129). But 
instead of using both hands the shaft may be held horizontally and 
rolled along the thigh with only one hand (pi. 7 B). Crevaux has 
thus described the making of the seed necklaces (sec. 535) of the 
Roucouyenne, Trio, etc. They employ for the purpose the capsule 
of a seed {Omphalea diandm), the envelope of which the Indian 
breaks with his teeth. Then seizing a chip in his left hand he pierces 
it with a drill rolled briskly on the right thigh. This drill is made of 
an aymara {Hoplias sp.) or sakane tooth fixed in the extremity of a 
small stick. The negroes at Kourou and Iracoubo make similar but 
finer seed necklaces, employing for the purpose a wimble put in motion 
by means of a bow (Cr, 285). A bow drill, however, is certainly 
indigenous to the Guianas, or rather, the principle upon which it 
works is no novelty to the Indians, for the Wapishana and neighboring 


tribes apply it in the manufacture of the three-yarn cotton scale 
lines of their hammocks (sec. 38). 

20. Wallace was the first to draw attention to the cylindrical 
quartz chest ornaments (sec. 537) from the Uaupcs River Indians. 
These stones are 4 to 8 inches long and about an inch in diameter. 
They are ground round and flat, at the ends — a work of great labor — 
and each is pierced with a hole at one end, through wliich a string is 
passed so as to suspend it around the neck. It seems almost in- 
credible that they should be able to make this hole in so hard a 
substance without iron instruments. They are said to use the pointed 
flexible leaf shoot of the large wild plantain, triturating with fine 
sand and water. ... It is said to be a labor of years; yet it must 
take a much longer time to pierce that wliich the Tushaua wears as 
the symbol of his authority, for it is generally of the largest size, and 
is worn transvei"sely across the breast, for which purpose the hole is 
bored lengthwise from one end to the other, an operation which . . . 
sometimes occupies two lives (AHW, 191). Another traveler has 
recently seen these ornaments again in the same district, and identi- 
fies the pointed wooden needle employed as made from the Iriartea 
exorrhiza. palm (KG, i, 326). Quartz and other stone beads (sec. 76), 
likewise drilled, have been recorded. 

21. The rough and scabrous leaves of the Curatella americana 
Linn, were employed as our tradesmen would use sandpaper for polish- 
ing purposes (ScT, 20). The leaves of the trumpet wood {Cecropia 
peltata) were similarly employed (Da, 159). The dried tongue of the 
warapaima fish {_Smlis gigas) is applied to the same use. The perfo- 
rated seed capsule chips for the necklaces of the Roucouyenne, etc., 
are threaded and polished by hand with the debris from pottery 
pounded up and moistened (Cr, 285). The polish on any of the 
hardwood timbers is completed by means of repeated rubbing with 
the hands and crabwood oil. 

22. With the introduction of iron, however, modifications took 
place in certain of the preceding processes. Thus, Schomburgk 
describes how he had often seen the Makusi and others take a piece 
of old iron, a discarded cutlass, for instance, make notches in it, and 
then use it as a saw, occupying a whole day, perhaps, in cutting an 
inch deep into some of their hard timbers (SR, i, 424). Wooden 
hooks (sec. 191) have been replaced by metal ones. In the utmost 
confines of the area under consideration the latest of European and 
American axes are in common use. Notwithstanding the fact that 
iron griddles were introduced upward of two centuries ago (sec. 363), 
clay griddles (sec. 362) are still used. 

Chapter II 

Gums, resins, balsams, etc.: Hymensea courbaril, Protium, Humiria floribimda, 
Vismia giiianensis, Copaifera officinalis, Eperua, Mimusops globosa, Tabebuia 
longipes, Moronobea coccinea, Bisi, Sapium, Hevea (23). 

Beeswax (24). 

Oils and unguents: 

(A) Vegetable — Carapa guianensis, Astrocaryum. Attalea, Maximiliana regia, 
Mespilodaphne, Oenocarpus bacaba, Lecythis zabucajo, Eugenia catinga, 
Myristica sebifera, veserri and cunama, cimuri and uacu (25). 

(B) Animal — Turtle-egg (20); Steatornis caripensis (27). 

Pigments, red, purplish, and blue: Bignonia cMca, Bixa orellana. Bellucia aubletii, 
Coussapoa latifolia, Genipa americana, Henriettea succosa, Homalium sp., 
Maparakuni erythroxyluna, Pterocarpus guianensis, Renealmia exaltata, buru- 
buruli, wiliko (28); red clay (29). 

Pigments, black and brown ; Inga lateril'olia, allakoidde (30). 

Pigments, yellow: Lukunanijio (31). 

Pigments, white: Kaolin (32). 

23. Gums, resins, and balsams are largely used by the Indians, 
and obtained chiefly from the following plants : 

Hymensea courbaril Linn., the simiri or locust tree, the algarroba 
of the Spaniards (G, i, 269; AVH, ii, 309), gum anime, copal, etc. 
Liunps of giun, 2 or 3 pounds in weight, fall from their trunks, as clear 
as crystal (G, i, 269). The Indians cut the trunk with a kiiife, and 
from each wound there flows a quantity of resin as white as snow and 
of a very sweet smell. If kept a long time it develops a yeUow color 
(G, I, 267). Sometimes it is dug out of the ground. Thus at 5 or 6 
inches' depth, between the roots of the Hyinensea courbaril, masses of 
the resm anime (erroneously called copal) are discovered, and are some- 
times mistaken for amber in inland places (AVH, ii, 359) . Kappler ap- 
parently challenges this statement of Humboldt's by siJealdng of this 
species of Hymenjea as the copal tree (AK, 54). Again, Fermin 
talks of gum copal being obtained from incisions in a very large 
tree, which they [in Surinam] call loms or courbaril (FE, 83). The 
Indians employ it for lighting purposes. A length of it stuck up in 
the ground burns away if lighted on top (G, i, 269). Among the 
Maypure of the Orinoco it is used for covering over the paintwork 
on the pottery (AVH, n, 309). It is very good for cm-ing the megrim 
(G, I, 267). The Indians chew it for pains in the stomach and flatu- 
lence, and often, by way of suffimiigation, for rheums, headaches, etc. 

Protium, heptophyUmn { = Icica TieptopTiylla, =Amyris amhrosiaca) , 
thehaiowa of the j^j-awak, the shipu or sibu of the Warrau, the sipipio 
of the Carib, the incense tree, from which the fragrant resin of conima 


is obtained (ScD, 98"). The rough masses of this dehciously scented 
white resin, . . . which is very inflammable, are often collected and 
stored bj- the Indians for lighting fires. Sometimes it is broken up into 
small pieces, which are put into hollow sticks [or rolled in leaves] 
and used as torches [or tapers, ScO, 54]. Made pliable by the 
admixture of a little oil, it is formed into balls . . . and in this state 
is stored and used to scent oil for anointing the bodies and hair of 
Indians (IT, 315-316). 

Protiun (Idea) guianense March is mentioned by Crevaux in 
Cayenne: The Maroon negroes of Guiana call the incense moni 
(money) doubtless because it serves them to buy from the whites 
that wliich they may require (Cr, 304). 

Protiwm aracoucMli { = Icica acouchini = Amyris Jieterophylla), from 
which is derived the balsam of acouchi. I take this to be identical 
with the arrecocerra and racaciri balsams mentioned by Bancroft and 
Fermin, respectively. This [arrecocerra] is the grand Indian vulner- 
ary for wounds, etc., which it speedily digests or incarns (BA, 87). 
It is also used for sticking on feathers (BA, 275). Balsam racaciri 
is derived from a tree on the banks of the Amazon. They let it 
trickle into a calabash from incisions made in the tree; a sovereign 
remedy for all recent sores and even old wounds, applying it in the 
form of a plaster put on as hot as possible (FE, 83). 

Protium (Idea, Amyrvi) carana,. — The greatest part [of the resinous 
substances] employed in the trade from the village of Javita on the 
upper Orinoco with Angostura [Bolivar] comes from the mararo or 
caragna, which is an Amyris ... It yields a resin strongly odorif- 
erous and white as snow ... It becomes yellow where it adheres to 
the internal part of the old bark (AVH, ii, 357). This extract from 
Humboldt very probably affords a clew to the identification of certain 
resins mentioned by Gumilla — the mara and carana. Mara is a rare 
resin, but it is not yet known whence the Guayba, Tunebo, and 
Chiricoa Indians obtain it. It is used for hmiting deer, wliich are 
said to be attracted by its perfume . . . Caraiia is a resin which the 
Indians extract, of a reddish color, but I am ignorant of its uses or 
effects (G, i, 269). The word is met with again in Surinam, where 
Fermin believes the "gomme de janipabas" to be identical with the 
caranna or, in French, caregne (FE,250). Schomburgk speaks of the 
substance as being something like gum elemi (SR, ii, 337). 

Humiiia fiorihunda Juss. — Known as the bastard bullet tree. 
It would seem to be identical with what the French in Cayenne 
call the "bois rouge" and the Indians coumery. Even at a 
distance the tree gives a strong and agreeable perfume (PBA, 21). 
Perhaps the same may be said, in the way of identity, of the cunasiri 
of the Orinoco: A tree of large size, color of the timber reddish; saw- 
dust filings from it give the odor of incense (G, i, 267). From the 
himairia is derived the imiiri balsam (SR, ii, 337). 


Vis7nia. guianensis Pers. and its derived gum, guttae, is mentioned 
by Schomburgk (SR, ii, 337). 

Copaifera officinalis Linn. — It is from this tree that tlie balsam 
copaiba is derived. On the Orinoco the balsam passed under various 
names, e. g., cabima, so called by the Indians after the tree which 
produced it, and by corrupting the word the Spaniards came to speak 
of it as oil of canime; other Indians [Carib] called it curucay, while 
certain of the whites described the tree as "palo de aceite," and the 
balsam as oil of maria (G, i, 275-276), or as the oil of palma clu-isti 
(FE, 45). In the catalogue of British Guiana contributions to the 
London International Exhibition of 1862 mention is made of a speci- 
men of gum or resin from the curaki or kurakai tree. At the present 
time, in the Pomeroon district, the Arawak term for it is purukai. 
Wliile Stedman calls it mawna (ST, i, 384, 403), Richard Schomburgk 
gives mararen as the vei-nacular for the tree (SR, ii, 472), and his 
brother Otto calls it maran (ScO, 96), wliich is the Creole term for 
the balsam. Bancroft speaks of it as mauna (BA, 45). It- was 
chiefly owing to the importance of the trade in this commodity 
that friendly relations came to be established between the Dutch 
and the Carib (G, i, 277). To prepare it, the Indians [on the upper 
Rupununi] cut a semicircular hole near the bottom of the trunk 
to the heart of the tree. At certain seasons of the year, chiefly 
in February and March, the balsam flows abundantly and fills the 
hole in the course of a day, when, next morning, it is put in cala- 
bashes, and forms an article of barter (ScG, 251). According to 
Gumilla it would appear that on the Orinoco the Indians began to tap 
the trees in August (G, i, 275-276). The Carib Indians mix this gum 
with arnotta to paint their bodies, says W. C. McClintock (CC, 15). 
Schomburgk 's men eagerly anointed their bodies and hair mth it 
(ScG, 251). 

Eperua spp. {E. falcata, E. jenmnni, E. scTiomburghii) . — Wallaba 
tree. From tliis is derived a very sticky gum resin. Its styptic and 
curative powers in cuts and bruises are well appreciated by the In- 
dians and other natives of our colony (CC, 15). 

Miinusops gloiosa Gaertn. — Bullet or balata tree. Its whitish 
resin is employed for attaching the different parts of an arrow (Cr, 
234) , the chip stones m a cassava grater (GO, 5), etc. The Wapishana 
and Makusi, who call it turara, obtain it in barter from the Taruma 

Tabebuia longipes. — Wliite cedar. Contains little cavities full of 
aromatic gum (G, i, 267). Without aUy incision it is deposited on the 
bark or even falls to the foot of the tree (Cou, 170). 

Moronobea coccinea Aubl. ( = Sy7nphonia bacculifera = Symp1ionia 
coccinea). — This is the manni of the Ai-awak, Carib, etc., the ohori of 
the Warrau, the manil in Cayenne, the breo of the Portuguese (Cr, 

ItltTH ] 



234) . The gum derived from this tree is kno^^^l as coUiman (HR, 382) , 
karamanni (i^-awak), abiyeweri (Warrau), peraman (? .Spanish) , or 
"buck" wax (CC, 15). When incisions are made in the tree trunk it 
exudes a gum of a yellowish color. It is mixed with beeswax and finely 
powdered charcoal. While still semiliquid it is generally run into a 
hollow bamboo, but is is sometimes allowed to take shape and to 
harden in the bottom of a buck pot (IT, 315). It is employed by the 
Indians for fastening the points of their arrows, waxing their thread 
and fisliing lines, and calking their canoes, for preserving their nets 
and cordage, and for the same purposes as pitch. Said to have been 

Fig. 4.— Eulibur syringe, ring, and ball. (After Barrere.) 

used by the natives to make tapers (StC, i, 319). At the village of 
Javita on the upper Atabapo, where there is a regular trade in resins, 
Humboldt reports having seen masses of several hundredweight 
(AVH, II, 357). 

Bisi is a resin from an unidentified tree used by Indians for giving 
a gloss to their bows, etc. (ScD, 35). 

Sapium jenmani or S. cladogyne and Hevea sp. were probably the 
sources whence rubber was originally derived. It was the Cayenne 
Indian who made balls, rings, and sjTinges (fig. 4) — the latter so much 
sought after by the curious — from the milk that runs from a liane. 


which, from the structure of its fruit and fiower, must be referred to 
the genus Apocin. As Barrere says, they collect a certain quan- 
tity of the milky juice, boil it for about a good quarter of an hour 
to give it a little consistency, and then get ready the molds which 
have been prepared for different things. These are usually made of 
a little clay, which they knead with sand so as to be easily broken. 
The molds for a syringe are shaped like a pearl or large pear, about 5 
or 6 inches long. They cover these molds with several coats of this 
boiled material, on which they trace various designs {traits fgnres) 
with a knife point or bodkin. They are then carefully dried over a 
little fire, and completed by blackening them in the smoke. The 
molds are then broken. They also manufacture out of the same mate- 
rial, wine vessels (bottes) and seals (sceavx), which stand water bet- 
ter than ordinary leather. The balls have plenty of elasticity, and 
when thrown will rebound five or six times. The rings are still more 
wonderful: Their spring is extraordinary, and they stretch infinitely. 
They are usually as large as the little finger, and are H inches in 
diameter. A ring, for example, that exactly fits the five fingers of 
one hand held close together can be made to stretch sufficiently to 
allow of its passing not only over the person's arm but over his entire 
body. It then contracts, and by its own elasticity returns to its 
original size (PBA, 141). La Condamine expresses similar wonder- 
ment, but adds some ciu'ious facts to his description: The rosin named 
cahout-chou, in those countries of the Province of Quito adjacent to 
the sea, is also very common on the banks of the Maranon, and serves 
for the same uses. When it is fresh, they work it with molds into 
what shape they please, and it is impenetrable by the rain, but what 
renders it the most remarkable is its great elasticity. They make 
bottles thereof, which it is not easy ta break, boots, and hollow bowls, 
which may be squeezed flat, and when no longer under restraint, 
recover their first form. The Portuguese of Para have even learned 
of the Omagua to make squirts or svringes thereof, that have no 
need of a piston, or sucker; they are made hollow in the form of a 
pear when scooped, having a little hole at the small end, to which a 
pipe of the same size is fitted; they are then filled with water, and by 
squeezing them, they have the same effect as a common squirt. 
This machine is mightily in vogue among the Omagua; when they 
meet together by themselves for any merrymaking, the master of 
the house never fails to present one to each of his guests, and the 
use of the squirt with them is always the prelude to their most 
solemn feasts (LCo, 39). The Essequibo Indians used rubber to burn 
as candles, which gave a brilliant light (StC, ii, 104). On the Orinoco 
the Otomac used rubber under the name of "caucho" to make their 
play balls (G, i, 1G8-172). The manufacture of such rubber play- 
balls is thus described by Appun from among the Akawai of the upper 


Cuyiini River: By making incisions in the trees (Hevea) the buck- 
women collect the "milk" in "sugar-loafs" turned out of banana 
leaves, and then with their fingers spread it in thin layers on the 
naked thigh, when it forthwith takes on a horny, sticky consistency. 
They roll this together with the flats of the hands into the shape of a 
ball and envelop it ^vith successive similarly made layers until it 
reaches the size required. The ball becomes blackish on exposure to 
the air and hardens very quickly (App, n, 153). 

I have been unable to identify Harcourt's gumma Lemnia (HR, 
382-383) : Schomburgk speaks of a yellow gum from a Garcinia 
(SR, II, 414) and a greenish resin from Bisi (ScD, 35). 

24. Beeswax. — A century and a half ago, in Bancroft's time, this 
was usually formed by the Indians into round balls, weighing about 2 
pounds each. A ball was often bought from the Indians near the 
sea, where it was plentiful, for a fishhook. This author says that the 
Indians had a method of purifying the wax and rendering it of a 
lighter color by melting, straining, and boiling it in water and wood 
ashes (BA, 23 i).. 

25. Vegetable oils and unguents include the following: 

Carapa guianensis Aubl. — ^The caraba, or crabwood, of the Gui- 
anas, the andiroba of the Amazons. The Roucouyenne of Cayenne 
can preserve the seed for a year by burying it in the ground 
and making veritable silos of it; otherwise it will not keep longer 
than three weeks or a month. The Oyampi of the Oyapock River 
boil the seeds, expose them for several weeks to the air in a 
scooped-out tree trunk, crush them with their feet, and finally let 
them drip on an inclined palm leaf (Cr, 160). This description is 
practically identical with that given from British Guiana: At the 
season when the nuts fall they are gathered and, after being boiled, 
are put aside imtil they become half rotten. When they are in 
proper condition they are shelled and kneaded into a coarse paste. 
Troughs are prepared of naturally curved tree bark, one end being 
cut to a point. The shape of these troughs is, in fact, exactly that 
of the steel nib of a pen (fig. 5). These, having been filled with 
the nut paste, are fixed in a sunny place, slanting, with the pointed 
end over a vessel. The oil oozes from the paste, runs down the 
trough, and drips from the pomt into the vessel below (IT, 314). 
A far better and quicker method of extracting the oil is that which 
I have met with on the Pomeroon, where the nut paste is com- 
pressed in an apparatus very like a miniature cassava squeezer, 
whence the oil trickles down. Crab oil burns very well, but it is 
generally used for anointing the hair and skin and for mixing with 
paint. The Indian women . . . make constant use of it. When 
setting out on a journey a gourd filled with crab oil is sure to form 
part of the baggage (ScG, 269-270). Wlien rubbed on their skins 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

it serves several useful purposes: It helps to withstand mosquitoes, 
softens the induration due to constant exposure, obviates excessive 
perspiration, and prevents them taking cold from the dews, rain, 
etc. (BA, 81). It is mixed with arnotta as a body paint. 

Astrocaryum tucumoides. — The awarra palm. The Indians sepa- 
rate the flesh from the seeds in a wooden mortar and then extract 
the oil by means of a matapi (AK, 281). 

Astrocaryum tucu-ma. — The akkoyuro palm (ScD, 99). Treated in 
similar fashion to the preceding. 

Attalea speciosa. — The Indians make an oil from this, the curua 
palm (App, II, 79). 

Maximiliana regia Mart. — The kokerit palm (ScD, 99). The 
seeds after being boiled are put in the sun to dry. They are then 
crushed, mashed up with the hand, and finally placed in a small 

Fig. 5. — Manufacture of crab-wood oil. 

form of cassava squeezer, whence the oil is expressed. Thus manu- 
factured by theMakusi, they use it for dropping into "bad" ears. 
The oil can also be extracted by crushing the seeds, boiling them in 
water, and skimming the oil off as it rises to the surface by means 
of small pads of cotton fiber (IT, 314). Schomburgk describes it 
as a fine oil (ScG, 242). 

Mespilodaphne pretiosa, the makeima of the Makusi. — ^The bark 
gives an ethereal oil. A decoction of it is used by the Indians for 
diarrhea and dysenteiy. The bark and leaves smell of cinnamon 
(App, n, 441). 

Oenocarpus hacaha. — The turu palm. In the course of preparation 
of the cumu drink the Surinam Indians obtained an oil with which 
they anointed their hair (AK, 79-80). The shopkeepers of Pari 
buy pataua oil {Oenocarpus pataua) and mix it in equal proportions 


with olive oil, retailing the whole as "olive oil," from which indeed 
even the best judges can scarcely distinguish it (RS, i, 479). 

Lecythis zahucajo Aubl. (SR, ii, 338). — Sapucaya or Paradise nut. 

Eugenia catlnga Aubl. (= Catinga moschata Aubl.) (SR, ii, 338). 

Myristica sehifera Sw. — When thrown into boiling water the seeds 
supply a vegetable tallow which is used in the colony for candles 
(SR, II, 338). 

There are two palms, which I have been unable to identify, 
mentioned by Giunilla as yielding an admirable oil. Tliese are the 
veserri and cunama (G, i, 263). The fruit of the veserri is eaten by 
some nations, but others place them on the fire to boil, and extract 
from them a large quantity of very pure oil, utilized both for oint- 
ments and for food. From the cunama fruit, which the Indians call 
abay, they extract an oil comparable with that of olives. It serves 
the Indians for unguents and the Spaniards for food and lighting 
purposes (G, ii, 249). 

So also with cunuri and uacu. From the seeds of these two trees, 
apparently undescribed on the Alto Rio Negro, Orinoco, Casic}uiari, 
Pacimoni, etc., the Indians prepare a paste resembling cream cheese 
in appearance and taste. The seeds are first boiled and then steeped 
for some days under water, after which they are broken up by the 
hand. In the boiling, a quantity of oil is said to be collected. . . . 
I first saw one of these trees (the cunuri, a Euphorbiacea allietl to 
the india-rubber tree, but with simple leaves) near San Gabriel. . . . 
The other tree, whose products are quite similar to those of the 
cunuri, is called uacii (RS, i, 480). 

There is no evidence that the Indians ever manufactured coconut 
oil for themselves. 

26. Turtle-egg oil for ages past has constituted a very important 
item in the way of domestic use, trade, and barter, both on the 
Orinoco and the Amazon, its manufactiu-e in these areas being 
practically similar. GumUla, on the Orinoco, has described the 
process of manufacture as follows: They call these turtle terec&ya 
. . . After carefully washing, cleaning, and diying, they jjlace 
quantities of the eggs in canoes, wherein young boys trample on 
them just as on om- side the grapes are trodden upon to express the 
juice. When sufficiently filled the mass is exposed to the smi's rays 
and after a little while a very thin, clear, oily liquor rises to the sur- 
face. During this process each of the women places her large earthen 
pan on the fire, whilst the men, with thm shells devised for the pur- 
pose, skim the surface of the oil, which is next placed in the pans, 
where it is boiled and purified. It is finally stored in vessels (G, i, 

Bates has left us the following account as witnessed by him on 
the upper Amazon: When no more eggs are to be foimd, the mashing 


process begins . . . The whole heap is thrown into an empty 
canoe and mashed with wooden prongs ; but sometimes naked Indians 
and children jump into the mass and tread it down, besmearing them- 
selves with yolk, and making about as filthy a scene as can well be 
imagined. This being finished, water is poured into the canoe 
and the fatty mass then left for a few hours to be heated by the 
sun, on which the oil separates and rises to the sm-face. The floating 
oil is afterward skimmed off with long spoons made by tjdng large 
mussel shells to the ends of long rods, and purified over the fire in 
copper kettles (HWB, 313). 

The Orinoco Indians twice daily use turtle-egg oil for anointing 
themselves (G, i, 293). Much employed for culinaiy purposes by 
the Brazilians . . . The turtle oil (mantega de tartaruga) consti- 
tutes a branch of commerce in the province of Para (ScD, 39). 
Used both for lightmg and for cooking; millions of eggs are thus 
amiually destroyed (ARW, 323). 

27. Another animal oil is that obtained from the guacharo or 
salies bu'ds (Steatortm caripensis) on the upper Mazaruni (BB, 386), 
but no details of manufacture are given. 

28. With perhaps two exceptions, pigments are all of vegetable 
origin. The following plants give colors of a more or less reddish 

Bignonia chica Humb. — Tlie pigment obtained from this plant is 
known as caraweru to almost all of the British Guiana tribes (SR, ii, 
208), as carivaveru (ScO, 307), as carawelu (Da, 274), as caraym-u 
on the upper Rio Negro, and as barisa or barahisa to the Warrau. 
I believe it to be identical with the tamiremui of the Trio and Ojana 
(GO, 2) in Surinam; with the biauro of the Ai-awak, etc., on the 
Demerara River (Da, 213); with the kariarou of Cayenne (PBA, 
197-198). In our own colony its preparation [by a process of fer- 
mentation] is confined exclusively to the Wapishana, Taruma, and 
Makusi. The leaves are first of all sUghtly dried in the shade, 
then thrown into a large trough or pot with water, in which on the 
second or third day they have already begun to ferment, whereby 
the red material is deposited as a powder. When this process is 
over the powder is washed imtil all foreign particles are removed. 
The deposit is next laid out in the smi to dry and then packed in 
small boxes made of palm leaves. The Indians use this delicate 
powder for face painting, for which piu-pose it is mixed with a sweet- 
smelling gum (SR, II, 393). A similar method of preparation is 
followed on the upper Rio Negro (KG, ii, 237). Im Thurn and B. 
Brown (BB, 162) instead of a fermentation speak of the water in 
which the leaves are soaked as bemg boiled. Thus, the dried leaves 
are boiled for a few minutes over a fire and then some freshly cut 
pieces of the bark of a certain tree and a bundle of twigs and fresh 


leaves from another tree are added to the mixture. The whole is 
next boiled for about 20 minutes, care being taken to keep the bark 
and leaves imder water. The pot is now taken from the fire and 
the contents are poured into bowls and allowed to subside. The 
clear water left at the top is poured off and the sediment, of a beau- 
tiful purple color, is put on a cloth, where it is allowed to dry; after 
this it is scraped off and packed in tiny baskets woven of the leaves 
of the kokerit palm (IT, 316-317). The little packing boxes (sec. 
387) may be made from'the young leaves of the curua palm, Attalea 
speciosa Mart. (BB, 162) or tbe kokerit. On the Rio Tiquie the 
pigment is kept in a carved tube made from a species of palm fruit 
(KG, I, 249). The Akawai on the Barima obtain their suppUes 
of the paint in barter from inland tribes (SR, i, 202). It dyes a 
bright orange (ScD, 99). It is used as a body or face paint by the 
Dauri (ScE, 167), Areloma (SR, ii, 209), Uaupes River Indians 
(KG, I, 174-176), and others. 

Bixa oreUana Linn. — Its derived red pigment is spoken of as 
faroah, arnotta or arnatto, roku, uruku, or ruku, and in Surinam as 
orlean (AK, 175-176) by the Dutch, and cosowee by the Indians 
(St, I, 384), a name still retained in our colony by the Barama River 
Carib as kuseve ; it was known as bichet to the Carib ( AVH, iii, 74), 
anoto to the Tamanac, majepa to the Maypure, and achote to the 
Spaniard (AVH, ii, 203) ; theMoruca River Arawak call itshiraballi, 
and the Warrau mubosimo. Roku, ruku, uruku is said to be the 
African name (WJ, SO), or a Brazilian word, while its botanical term 
Bixa is derived from the ancient language of Haiti, the island of 
Santo Domingo (AVH, ii, 203). After being well washed and 
scoured with the hands, large quantities of the seeds are made into 
an infusion, the water remains colored, and next day the pigment is 
found at the bottom, and the water as clear as ever. After carefully 
pouring off the water the achote or coloring matter is exposed to the 
sun, and when half dry it is made up into balls, which the Indians 
keep for pounding up with oil, and for anointing themselves with 
daily (G, ii, 250). 

Cr6vaux gives a somewhat more detailed description of its prepa- 
ration bv the Carijona of the upper Yapura (Cr, 366). Instead of 
being kept in lumps or cakes, etc., it may be stored in a liquid con- 
dition in tubes made of hollow bamboo stems (IT, 316-317). On the 
Orinoco it was kneaded with turtle-egg oil into round cakes, etc., 
and when turtle oil was wanting, some tribes mixed crocodile fat 
with it (AVH, II, 203). Bancroft says that the ruku is mostly 
cultivated by the Indians and its seeds macerated in the juice of 
lemons in which the "gum" of the mauna tree (Copaifera) has been 
dissolved (BA, 45). In addition to its employment as a face and 
body paint, Carib of both sexes would seem to have an especial 
60160°— 24 7 


predilection for rubbing it into the hair over the forehead. They 
and the Warrau are said to mix it for use with Bignonia pigment 
and Protinm heptophyUum gum. 

Belluda Auhletii Naud (^Blal'ea trinerva). — The mespil of the 
Creoles. Itarra is the Arawak name both of the tree and of the red 
dye obtained from it. The older the tree, and the more freshly used, 
the better is the stain. The outer bark having been removed, and its 
cortical portion sliced off, it is scraped with a knife, the moist shav- 
ings thus produced being pressed together between the fingers and 
thumb and then rubbed upon the article to be dyed. At first it is 
somewhat sticky, but soon dries and increases in depth of color 
during the process. This paint is used on paddles, the insides of 
calabashes, etc., and with the action of water becomes much darker. 

Coussapoa latifolia Aubl. — A red paint is obtained from the bark 
and from the seeds, but it is not good as a dye, as it does not last long. 
The Arawak call it maba-bunakara. 

Genipa americana,. — The launa or lana tree. This is the tapuriba 
(AK, 185) or tapowT-ipa of the Surinam Indians (St, i, .384), the 
tabuseba of the Carib (ScO, 258), and very probably the jagua of the 
Orinoco (G, i, 201). This is another of the very many economic 
plants cultivated by the Indians. For example, the trees which are 
now found growing on the banks of the upper Manawarin (Moruca 
River) are said to have been brought there by the Carib from the 
Corentyn. The internal substance of the fruit being bruised and 
macerated in water affords the paint so delightful to the Indians 
and which in color nearly resembles indigo. With this they orna- 
ment their bodies by drawing a variet}' of figures . . . These figures, 
when thus drawn on the skin, are indelible for a term of 9 or 10 days 
by any art hitherto discovered. When that time has elapsed they 
usually begin to disappear, and are soon after invisible (BA, 75). 

Henriettea succosa DC. — The sakuapera of the Arawak and Warrau. 

ffHomalium sp. — The buri-badda, "bat's finger," of the Arawak, 
the sa-amahusi of the Warrau. A reddish milk flows when the vine 
is cut, but it is not a good dye as it does not last. 

Maparakuni erythroxylum. — Schomburgk speaks of a red dye 
derived from this plant (ScD, 99). 

Pterocarpus guianensis Aubl. — On the Essequibo they showed me, 
says St. Clair, some of the arrisaura berries, with the juice of which 
I have frequently seen their faces, thighs, and arms stained in fan- 
tastical figures of a beautiful clear blue color. The native Indians 
take great pleasure in adorning themselves with this juice upon any 
particular occurrence in their tribe, such as a marriage, the election 
of a new chief, or going to make war (StC, ii, 109). The Barama 
River Carib call the plant karasaru. They obtain it from the Cuyuni 


Renealmia exaltata Linn. — Kuruwatti of the Arawak. A bright 
reddish purple juice [from the fruit] used by the Indians for ophthal- 
mia (BA, 109). Also employed as an ink, a dye for cotton, etc., and 
on the Pomeroon is said to be the material with which the tattooing 
was done in the old days. 

Other red pigments the vegetable origin of which I have so far 
been unable to identify are the buruburuli of the Demerara River 
(Da, 21-3), and the wiliko, a brown-red, from the Trio Indians (GO, 2). 

29. The Carib use a reddish clay pigment which is often to be 
seen transported in the shape of a roundish ball just about large 
enough to clutch in the hand. 

30. Inga Interifolm Mig. — Shirada or serada, the Arawak name of 
tlie tree from which the scrapings taken from the inner portion of the 
outer bark are rubbed with soot to form a black dye. This gives a 
glossy black appearance to such articles as paddles, basketry strands, 
and the insides of calabashes, on which it may be smeared. The 
fruit of the shirada is eaten by the Arawak. 

The allakoidde was a black body paint employed by the Trio, but 
no information is forthcoming as to its origin or composition (GO, 2). 
Kuari is a black dye made from the fruit of a wild species of guava 
(sec. 589). 

31. With regard to yeUow pigments I have knowledge of a par- 
ticular clay used by the Waiwai (JO) and the Roucouyenne (Cr, 
108) and of a vegetable pigment derived from the lukunanijio, the 
Arawak name of a plant that I have not succeeded in identifying. 
The fruit of the mankaratice was used for coloring the ite-fiber 
hammocks yellow (ScQ, 254). 

32. Out in the savannas, on the Ircng and elsewhere, there is a 
large amount of greasy white clay, a kind of kaolin, that may occa- 
sionally be used as a pigment. 

Chapter III 

Twine; Single ply (33); spindle (34); two-ply (35); three-ply (36); multiple ply (37). 
Three-yam scale lines (38). 

Cords and bands (39) (A) made without special apparatus: 
Tatting: With two threads (40); with three threads (41). 
Strand plaiting (42); combined with overcasting (43). 
Overcasting (44). 

Loop plaiting: With 4 loops (45); with 5 loops (46). 
Cords and bands (B) made with special apparatus: 

Single flat split-eye needle (47); two flat split-eye needles (48); single hooked 
needle (49); two hooked needles (50); four split-eye rounded needles (51); 
six split-eye rounded needles (52); two long cane .sticks (53); a single stick 
(54); loom (55); looping on a frame (56). 

33. Single-ply cotton twine. After the cotton has been picked it 
is put in the sun to dry, but not for more than a day or two. It is 
then stored in a quake or openwork basket, where it may remain 
for any length of time, provided it is not allowed to get wet. When 
about to be used the foreign matter is carefully picketl out and the 
whole teased, bit by bit. This teasing process is important. A 
very small handful is pinched' up, teased out with the fingers, 
"smacked," so to speak, between the palms of -the hands, and thus 
alternately teased and sharply squeezed into a thin circular pat 
about 4 to 41 inches in circumference. During the "smacking" 
process there is a slight simultaneous rotation at the wrists. A 
large number of such pats are placed one on top of the other, form- 
ing a pile or cylinder about 6 or 7 inches high. This cylinder is then 
pressed laterally, folded in its length, and gradually stretched. It 
is again folded in its length and similarly stretched, so as to form a 
soft pad about 2 feet long. This pad of teased cotton is next 
twisted into a spiral, loosely at its distal extremity, but progressively 
tighter toward its proximal, which is again stretched previous to the 
whole being lightly wound around the left forefinger and wrist 
(fig. 6), its distal and much larger end hanging loosely over the 
forearm. That j)ortion of its proximal extremity between the two 
thumbs is now gradually and very carefully teased out anil stretched, 
any untoward slipping being prevented by resting the third finger 
of the left hand on the bent forefinger of the right, which acts as a 
fulcrmn. On completion of the stretching, the amount and exact 
degree of which will depend upon the thickness of thread desired, 
etc., the portion of cotton just stretched is attached at its proximal 
extremity to the spindle (fig. 7) through the nick or hook at the 


top of its shank. The base of the shank — that is, the portion below 
the guard — is now rolled with the flat of the open right hand sharply- 
down the thigh (fig. 8), and so sent spinning on itself with the 
momentum just imparted. Wliile thus spinning freely, more of the 
pad is unwound from the arm, the cotton is again carefully teased 
out and stretched between the thumbs, and the spindle, gradually 
coming to rest, is again spun. The whole process, indeed, consists 
of these three factors: The vmwinding and rewinding of the pad, 
the stretching out and teasing of that portion of it between the 
thumbs, and the spinning of the spindle down the thigh. When a 
convenient length of cotton thread (say, 2 or 3 feet) has been spmi, 
it is rolled taut around the spindle shank and looped into the hook, 

Fig. 6.— Spinning the cotton— stretching and winding it on the wrist. 

and the process thus repeated. The degree of coarseness or fineness 
with which the cotton may be spun into twine will depend partly 
upon the use for which it is intended, the two extremes being met 
with in the rough string forming the basis of the cotton hammocks 
and in the delicate twine ornamenting the butt end of the Ai-awak 
arrow. Another condition that has to be taken into account in this 
connection is the quality of the cotton, the special properties of its 
different species being locally recognized. I learn, for instance, that 
the Wapishana have distinctive names for at least six different kinds 
of cotton (JO). 

34. The spindle employed in the manufactiu'e of cotton twine 
consists of a tapering wooden shank passed tlu'ough a circular guard, 
its distal extremity being either nicked or provided with a small 



[BTH. ANN. S8 

hook (fig. 7). The bone hook of the Ovana and Trio spindles 
(GOE, pi. VII, figs. 7, 8) may be somewhat more complicated (fig. 9). 
The ordinary material out of which the guards are and were cut 
would seem to be "bone" (BB, 54), as tapir (Cr, 296), or turtle 
carapace, as with the Makusi, Patamona, and Wapishana. On the 
Pomeroon I have observed them made of two pieces of calabash 
(fig. 10 B) with their convexities outward. The guards may be 
incised with various patterns, as those of the Oyana (GO, 9) in 

Surinam (fig. 10 A) and of the Wapishana 

(fig. 10 C). 

35. Two-ply cotton twine. Having 
made two spindlefuls of single-ply 
thread, the ends are attached together 
to the hook of a tliird and larger spindle, 
the shank of which is spun in a direc- 
tion up the thigh with the right hand. 
To insirre uniformity and regularity 
with the two single-ply threads as they 
are gradually unwound from their re- 
spective spindles, they are run over the 
left forefinger and thi'ough the fork 
between the ring and little fingers, re- 
spectively. As each convenient length 
of now 2-ply thread is spun, it is rolled 
taut around the spindle shank and 
looped into the hook and the shank 
again spun. 

36. Three-ply cotton twine is often 
manufactured by Wapishana and neigh- 
boring Indians and may be used in the 
crossbars of their hammocks and wher- 
ever extra strength is requhed. To make 

such a yarn the woman will take a ball of ordinary single-ply thread 
and tying the end of its strand around her right big toe, will lock it 
into long loops (fig. 1 1 ) and form a chain of them as far as her arms 
will reach. She will next wind this chain around and around her foot 
immediately behind the toes, finally bringing it forward from behind 
on the outer side of the base of the little toe; then continue the chain, 
roll it around again, and so repeat the process. When a sufficient 
length has been obtained she will unwind the chain from off her 
foot, wind it into a ball, fix the end onto her spindle, and roll it 
length by length down her thigh into a single yarn. 

37. Multiple-ply cotton twine. A dozen or more single-ply 
cotton threads may be spvm together on the right thigh downward 
to form a multiple-ply yarn. Such yarn is softer to the skin than 

Fig. 7.— Spindles. 




the other varieties and hence is often used as a waist or shoulder 

38. Three-yarn cotton scale lines made by Wapishana men and 
women for the hammock are worked on a different princi])le by 
means of a bow drill 
(fig. 12). Here we 
have three 8-ply cot- 
ton yarns each tied at 
one extremity to a post 
and attached at the 
other (after being 
passed through one of 
the three apertures 
made in a piece of cala- 
bash) to a crosspiece 
inserted at right angles 
into the end of a length 
of arrow reed. The 
perforated calabash 
may be replaced by 
two bits of stick at- 
tached crosswise. Be- 
hind the crosspiece in 
the reed is another cir- 
cular calabash plate, 
the object of which I 
am doubtful about, 
and behind this again 
is a double turn of a cotton bowstring which can be tightened or 
loosened as required on the bow held beneath with the right hand. 
The tightening or loosening is effected by pressing or relaxing the 
bowstring against the bow with the right palm. The left hand holds 
that portion of the reed wound with the string, but allows a moiety 
of the latter to enter the palm below the thumb and 
ther to emerge from between the middle and 
fingers. When the right hand pushes the bow 
forward the left-hand grip is loosened and the right 
grip tightened, so as to allow the arrow to roll with the 
bowstring. When it draws the bow back the left-hand 
grip is tightened and the right one loosened, so as to 
permit the bowstring to slip. The result of this for- 
ward and backward movement is to roll the arrow reed in one 
direction only, somewhat after the manner of a watchmaker's 
drill; through the crosspiece this motion is imparted to the three 
yarns, the regularity of their twist being assured by an assistant 

Fig. S.— Spinning the cotton— rolling the spindle down tbe thigh. 
( After J. Ogilvie.) 

of the 
A V? the o 

V^ /aL ""^^ 

Fig. 9.— Bone tips of 
Oyana and Trio 



[ETH. ANN. ; 

(woman or child) carefully supporting the perforated piece of calabash 
and walking with it at a jiace proportionate with the twist toward 
the post on which the three yarns are tied (JO). 

Fig. 10.— Spindle guards. A , C, bone; B, calabash. 

39. Cotton cords, bands, etc. Cotton is largely employed in the 
manufacture of bands or cords used according to their width and 
contour as waistbands (for supporting the loin cloth, etc.), forehead 
bands, anklets, armlets, body cords, as supporting strings for the 

Fig. U. — Method of manufacturing three-ply cotton twine. 

satchel form of pegalls, as slings for clubs, and for other purposes. 
The procedures connected with the making of these different articles 
will now be described, according to the methods or apparatus em- 

Fig. 12. — Bow drill for making three-yarn cotton scale lines. 

40. Cording. This is practiced among the Warrau, the left thumb 
and forefinger replacing the two "arms" of the flat lyre-shaped 
ivory apparatus that used to grace our grandmothers' workboxes 
for making the fine silken cords to which their eyeglasses, etc., were 




attached. If one cotton string is used (fig. 13 A) the process is aa 
follows: Operations are commenced by making a slipknot Qc) at the 
proximal extremity (a) of the string, which is held more or less taut by 
being wound over the little finger, the loop formed by the slipknot 
being passed over the forefinger (LF) ; the distal or ball end (6) of the 




Fig. 13. — Cording with one string. 

string is looped over the thumb (LT) and then over the forefinger. 
The first loop on the forefinger is now passed over and in front of the 
second loop (B), and tightened (C) by pulling on the proximal end of 
the string. The distal e.xtremity is next looped on the thumb (D), 
the previous loop there being passed over it in similar fasliion (E), the 
whole being next tightened by pulling — first, on the upper half of the 



[ETH. ANN. 8S 

loop passing over the forefinger; second, on the upper half of the loop 
passing over the thumb ; and, third, on the ball end of the string (F). It 
must be borne in mind that the illustrations, to maintain their dia- 
grammatic character, do not actually represent the complete tighten- 
ing described. The distal end is next looped over the forefinger (G), 
the loop, already behind it, passed in front (H), and tightened again 
by three successive pulls as before (K). The process is then repeated 
on the thumb, again on the forefinger, and so on alternately until the 
square-sectioned cord (L) reaches the length desired. In tightening, 
the string must not be pulled on to too great an extent, a contingency 
which will prevent the string slipping through where necessary; it 
is only the proximal extremity which has to be kept fairly taut 

Fig. 14. — Cording with three strings. 

by regularly unwinding from, and rewinding on, the little finger 
(WER, ni). 

41. Cording (continued). The Warrau also practice a more compli- 
cated form of cording by using three strands (fig. 14). All three 
strings, of the necessary length required (A, a, b, c), are tied together 
at their extremity (k), and a loop made in two of them {a, h) close to 
the knot. These loops are now passed respectively over the left 
thimtib and forefinger (B), tightened, and the knotted end of the 
strings fixed in position between the little finger and palm, while the 
free ends are held more or less taut by an assistant, such assistant 
being occasionally replaced by the maker's own big toe. [In the 
accompanying diagrams it must be noted that, for clearness only, the 




loops are represented as being loose.] The third strand (c), the one 
without a loop, is now passed over the top of the forefinger in front 
of the loop (6) already there (C), the latter being then passed over it 
and tightened by dragging on its free end (D). The same string that 
has just been pulled on (h) is now passed over the tip of the thumb, in 
front of the loop (a) already there (E), the latter being then passed 
over it, and rendered taut (F). The same string that has just been 
pulled on (a) to effect this is next passed over the tip of the forefinger 
(G) in front of the loop (c) already there, the latter passed over it, and 
tightened. The process of manufacture is thus repeated between 
these two digits in the following sequence: Loop on one digit, string 
in front of it, loop passed over string and tightened, its extremity now 
becoming the string in front of the loop on the other digit. The com- 
pleted cord (H) is shown (WER, iii). 

43. Strand plaiting (fig. 15). There is an eight-strand cotton cord 
met with among the Warrau which is made by passing over the big toe, 
etc., four skeins of cot^ 
ton twine, which are 
tied together above, 
but divided below, the 
eight strands so de- 
rived being then 
spread out more or 
less on the flat (A) by 
holding them between 
the thumb and fore- 
finger of either hand. ^.. 
Starting with the 
liighest on the left 
side, this is passed over the next three (B) on to the right side, where it 
becomes the lowermost. The same thing is done with the right side, 
passing the highest strand over the next four (C) to become the lower- 
most on the left side. The process is repeated on the left side, and 
then on the right — passing the highest strand over tliree and four 
successively — and so on alternately to whatever length of cord is 
required (D). The pattern of this cord is named after the mohotta, 
a fish with an arrangement of scales which it is said to resemble 
(WER, in). 

43. Strand plaiting combined with overcastmg (fig. 16) is seen in 
the Cotton handle covering of the old-time Akawai dagger club (sec. 
1 54) . A certam nmnber of strands — three in the present case, though 
more might be utilized — -are cut to a length of from 2^ to 3 feet. 
Loop the first (a) around the handle in two whirls turned in opposite 
directions (A) and then approximate the two whorls (B). Now place 
the second string (b) in similar fashion above the first, and the third (c) 
above the second, approximating all three (C). Commencing with 

Fig. 15. — Strand plaiting. 



[eTH. ANN. S3 

the free end of the topmost strand (r), let us say the right (for 
descriptive purposes), loop it aromid the handle, and, passing it under 
itself, pull it out on the left-hand side (D). Now approximate to the 
others and tighten (E). Next, commence \vith the free end of the 
topmost strand on the left, loop it around the handle as before, and, 
passing it under itself, pull it out on the right-hand side. Taking thus 
each topmost strand alternately right and left, and repeating the 

Fig. 16. — Strand plaiting combined with overcasting. 

process, there is ultimately derived the figure diagrammatically 
shown in F. 

44. Overcasting (fig. 17) is employed by Arawak for the fixation 
of smaller-sized feathers to strings. Around the toe or other suitable 
support some three or four skeins of cotton string, according to the 
tliickness of completed cord required, are wound. These are tied 
above by the end of cotton attached to the ball, which now passes 
in and out between the two halves of the skeins so as to overcast them. 




Fig. 17. — Overcasting for 
feathered strings. 

During the whole procedure the skeins are not divided below, but 
held more or less taut by the assistant. Each overcast, as it is com- 
pleted, is tightened, not only by pulling on the cotton strand itself, 
but also by squeezing it up with the left thumb nail, except that, at 
regular intervals, but on opposite sides alternately, an overcasting 
loop is left slack. It is into each of these slack ones that the feathered 
quill (sec. 80) is ultimately bent over and tied. Feathered cords on 
this pattern are wound around the distal ex- 
tremity of the medicine man's rattle (WER, in). 
Another example of overcasting (fig. 18) is to be 
seen in the head circlets of Makusi and other 
women, where the procedure is utilized to keep 
the four itiriti strands that constitute the basis 
of the ornament in place. 

45. Loop plaiting with four loops (fig. 19). — 
Three of the loops are passed one in between 
the other, the fourth alone being directed over 
and luider as in orthodox plaiting. A cotton 
string 20 to 25 feet long is wound four times, in 
the form of a skein, from left palm to over big 
toe, and its extremities knotted there, with the 
result that we have four loops which are held 
taut by means of the first and third fingers of each hand (A). As 
the palms are turned more or less up during the progress of manu- 
facture, the four sets of loops, for descriptive purposes, may be 
spoken of as two outer {o on first fingers) and two inner {i on 
third fingers), these being slipped from one digit to the other in 
regular sequence. Thus, with the strings all taut, starting with the 
inner loops, these change fingers (B) by passing one loop inside the 

other: the same is then done with the outer 
loops. This is followed by a change in 
place between the (operator's) right outer 
and left inner loop, which are not passed one 
through the other, but the former over the 
latter. The whole process is then repeated 
in the same order — inner loops, outer loops, 
right outer and left inner loop — until the 
length required has been obtained. To 
tighten the successive "plaits," the big toe 
of the free foot is squeezed in between the two inner loops after each 
substitution. Wlien a longer cord is desired a longer twine will be 
used, and under such circumstances the four loops are hooked to a 
projecting branch, forked stick, etc. (in place of the big toe), and the 
action of the free foot, after each substitution of two loops, replaced 
by the hand or stick of an assistant. When a shorter cord is manu- 
factured, the action of the free foot, etc., is replaced by pulling the 

Fig . 18.— Overcasting for head circlets. 



[ETH. ANN. 88 

two hands (with their contained loop) widely apart after each sub- 
stitution. The completed cord is more or less flat (C) on one surface, 
convex (D) on the other, and in section (E) a trefoil, with one of 
the foils larger than the other two (WER, iii). 

46. Loop plaiting with five loops (fig. 20) . — ^Also among the Warrau. 
Here the cotton string, some 6 feet or so, is woimd five times round 
the toe so as to give five loops. Two of these (a, h) are held taut in 
the left hand (A), and three (c, d, e) in the right. In the former case, 
a is fixed on the thumb and first and second fingers and b on the third ; 
in the latter c, d, e is supported on the first, second, and tliird fingers 
respectively. As the palms are here also turned up more or less in 
the process of manufacture, loop e is on a level lower than all the 
others. This is the first position. " Plaiting " is started by slipping 

Fig. 19. — Loop plaiting; with four loops. 

e, the lowest of the three, off the right third finger through a on to the 
left forefinger, which is flexed well over it, at the same time slipping 
a off the left thumb and forefinger on to the left middle finger (B) ; 
the plait is then tightened, by the free foot, an assistant, etc., in the 
manner already explained in the previous paragraph. The right 
thumb is next inserted into c and the right third finger into d at the 
same time that the right middle finger is taken out of it and placed in 
c, the whole being tightened again. TMs, the second position (C), 
is practically the reverse of the first. Plaiting is again started by 
slipping 6, the lowest of the three, off the left third finger tlirough c 
on to the right forefinger, wliich is flexed well over it, at the same 
time slipping c on to the right middle finger and then tightening as 
before; the left thmnb is now inserted in e and the left third finger 
into a at the same time that the left middle finger is taken out of it 




and placed in e, and tightening again. This, the third position, is 
identical with the first (A), the succeeduig plaits taking place just 
as before — alternately slipping off the lowest of the three loops from 
one hand into the upper of the two loops on the other. The cord so 
produced is flat (D) on one side, convex (E) on the other (WER, iii). 

47. We have now to deal with a series of cotton cords, etc., all of 
them manuf actm-ed with more or less special apparatiis : 

With a single flat needle (pi. 8). — This method is peculiar to the 
Carib portion of the commmiity. Given a ball of cotton, one 
extremity from ofl: it (a) is wound aroimd all fom- fingers of the 

c d 5 a e 

Fir,. 20. — Loop plaiting: with five loops. 

left hand three times, a fom-th loop being passed between the middle 
and ring fingers, the twdne being otherwise kept in position by the 
thumb (A). The needle, a flat ta]>ering piece of wood about 3 inches 
long, split at its wider end to form an "eye," is passed mider the 
two outer loops and threaded by wedging the cotton into the 
split (B). In this and in succeeding illustrations the left hand is 
pm-posely not represented, in order to render the varjnng positions 
of the different parts of the thread more clear. The needle is next 
pushed onward, and with it its contained thi'ead, which, in its 
passage through the two vertical loops, is clutched tighter in du-ect 
proportion as the loops are kept more taut by the thujnb, etc. 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

Once through, the needle is removed, and the size of the horizontal 
loop (h') diminished by carefully ptdling on its ball end (b, C) until 
it is just a trifle greater than the width between the two outer 
vertical loops. The needle is again inserted, but on this occasion 
under the two middle vertical loops, as well as under the two 
extremities of the horizontal one (D) ; it is once more threaded (E) 
and pushed through, so as to form a second horizontal loop (h", F), 
which is then reduced to suitable size as before. The needle is now 
inserted under the two horizontal loops alone (G), the whole is 
tightened, and the vertical loops removed from off the fingers to 
be firmly tied together with the free end (a) of the cotton (H), 
the article in the com-se of its subsequent manufacture being now 
held as depicted (K). Thus, fixing the needle, and thi'eading, a third 
horizontal loop is formed (/('", L). This is similarly reduced, the 
threaded needle passed imder the two last-manufactured loops (M), 

and so a fom-th horizontal loop pro- 
duced Qi"", N). Indeed, putting it 
shortly, the whole process consists of 
but a repetition of passage of needle 
mider the two immediately preceding- 
loops, thi-eading it, and tightening 
the newly formed loop ready for the 
needle agaiia. The illustrations (H 
to O), being diagrammatic, pm-posely 
only indicate exactly one-half of the 
cord. Portion of the completed cord 
is shown (P), from the aspect in 
which its manufacture has been de- 
scribed, with all the hoiizontal loops 
squeezed, as it were, into a semi- 
diagonal position. On the opposite 
aspect, however, owing to the ball end of the cotton necessarily 
intervening between every successive horizontal loop, the appearance 
of the cord is somewhat asymmetrical (Q), a feature which becomes 
still more marked in cross section (R) (WER, iii). 

48. With two flat needles. — Certain of the Carib have developed 
the above procedine by using two needles, so as to produce a com- 
paratively wide band (fig. 21 A), which is manufactm-ed on the 
following lines: As soon as the two horizontal loops have been com- 
pleted (pi. 8 G) the article is tiu-ned right round, a second needle 
is inserted rnider the fom* vertical loops in front of the original 
needle, in an opposite direction, of course, now (fig. 21 B), and two 
horizontal Joops worked on it, as already illustrated (pi. 8 B-G). 
Directly these latter have been made, the article is again reversed, 
and two horizontal loops worked on the first needle. The process 

Fig. 21. — Cotton-cord making: with two flat 
split-evf needles. 



(After KoUi.) 




A , B, C, Cotton band making with a single hooked needle. D, Cotton band anklet made with 
a single hooked needle. Carib. 


is thus alternately repeated: Two horizontal loops on one needle, 
a reversal, two horizontal loops on the other needle, and so on until 
the required length of band is reached (WER, iii). 

49. With one hooked needle. — Crochet (pi. 9). Carib, Makusi, 
and other women crochet anklets and armlets, working them on 
the limb itself, or around a wooden cylinder of about the same 
circumference as the ankle or arm which it will subsequently grace. 
The hooked needle employed is a thin tapering wooden pencil, 
though all variations in material and shape approaching the orthodox 
Em'opean crochet hook are availed of; on occasion I have observed 
a bent wire used. Starting with one end (s) of the string (A), a 
chain is made of a number of loops (a, a, a) until a length equal to the 
circumference of the ankle is reached; a loop independent of the 
previous one— that is, a free one (/) — is now made and tied to the 
proximal end of the string (s), though for clearness this actual tying 
together is not shown in the illustration. The second row of loops 
(b, h, b) is next made, not only as before, dependent upon one 
another, but each is also dependent on every consecutive two in 
the first row (B). The third and succeeding rows of loops (c, d, e) 
are made on a plan identical with the second, and thus row after 
row (C) is added until the desired width is obtained. The com- 
pleted article (pi. 9 D), like the next to be described, reminds one, 
in general appearance, of a knitted woollen serviette ring. By 
sewing together the lower edges of such a ring, a bag (pi. 85 A, B) can 
be made (sec. 388). 

50. With two hooked needles. — Crochet (continued). Warrau 
women will crochet cotton anklets on two delicate hooked slips of 
wood about 2^ inches long as follows (fig. 22) : Holding one of 
these needles (m) horizontally between the left thumb and fore- 
finger (A) the end (d) of a cotton ball is wound over it, say, seven 
times, so as to form a row of seven coils (a' to «'). The second needle 
(?!.), now held parallel with and above the first in the right hand, 
catches up (B) the first coil (a') , hooks up a piece of the proximal end (p) 
of the cotton string (C), and passes it outward, so as to complete at the 
same time the first loop of the first row (a) and the fii'st loop (6') of 
the second row (D). The same needle (n) now catches up the second 
coil (a') of the first row (E), hooks up another piece of string (F), and 
passes it outward so as to complete at the same time the second 
loop (a^) of the first row and the second loop (b^) of the second row 
(G). And thus the process goes on from right to left until the 
operator has two rows (H) each of seven loops (a' to a.') and (&' to 6'). 
The lower needle (m) is next pulled away, and the upper (n) with its 
loops txirned right round (J), so as to take the place of the former in 
the piece just manufactured; that is to say, m is reinserted and 
catches up from n the first loop (&' ) on the right (K), hooks up another 

60160°— 24 8 



[ETir. AXN. 38 


piece of cotton, just as before, to complete the first loop (6') on the 
right of the second row, and at the same time the first loop on the 
third row {&). Horizontal rows, each of seven loops, are thus 
superimposed, one on top of the other (L), until a sufficient length is 
obtained, when the first and last rows are worked into one another 
to complete the anklet ring. 

61. Withfourrounded split-eye needles (pi. 10 A). — Cordsmadewith 
four needles (fig. 23 A) are to be seen worn by Patamona, Makusi, 

and other men and 
boys as arm bands 
(sec. 540). I have 
seen the former 
people make them. 
The needles, about 3 
inches long, are in 
the shape of spills, 
cut from the midrib 
of the kokerit leaf, 
nicked at their 
thicker ends, and slit 
from one-fom-th to 
thi'ee-eighths of an 
inch down at the base 
of the nick (B) to re- 
ceive the thi'ead when 
required. With the 
four needles held be- 
tween thumb and in- 
dex fijiger of left hand, 
wind onto them, af- 
ter the maimer illus- 
trated in the dia- 
gram, the distal end of 
a cotton strand un- 
wound from a ball, 
and take care that 
its various positions relative to the respective needles do not 
become accidentally altered. From left to right, we will number 
tlie needles 1 to 4. Pass the cotton over the front of needle 1 
and thread it onto 2 (C) ; push 2 downward, and catching it below 
the four horizontal rows of strand very tightly with the right 
thumb and index finger, pull it downward and outward from below. 
The result of this movement is that the cotton is freed from the 
needle, and hangs down in a loop (D). Now hold 2 by its "head," 
and passing its point under the top horizontal strand and thi'ough 

Fig. 22. — Cotton-band making: with two booked needles. 



A, Cotton band .made with four needles. li, Cotluii baiul made with six needles. 
C, Baby sling made of two loom-woven cot ton bands. Akawai, Pomcroon Rivor. 




the loop, replace it in its original position (E). Next tighten the 
loop by pulling on the strand (F, G) ; now thi'ead 4 (H), and manipu- 
late it exactly as has been done with 2 (JK). When this is com- 
pleted do the same with 3 (L), and finally repeat the process with 1. 
The whole procedm-e is again gone through as before, and so the 
band is gradually formed at the back of all fom- needles, where, as it 
becomes longer and longer, it hangs over and behind the left fore- 
finger. To describe the whole manufacture shortly, it is but a repeti- 
tion over and over again of the following four processes : 

Pass cotton in front of needle 1 and thread needle 2. 
Pa^is cotton in front of needle 3 and thread needle 4. 
Pa^s cotton in-front of needle 4 and thread needle 3. 
Pass cotton in front of needle 2 and thread needle 1. 

52. With six rounded spUt-eye needles (pi. 10 B). — Similar bands, 
made with six needles (fig. 23 M), are also found among the Patamona, 
and, Uke the preceding, are 
manufactured both by men and 
women. A commencement is 
made with seven horizontal 
rows of strand and the thread- 
ing of needle 5 as in the dia- 
gi-am. Shortly described, the 
whole procedure is a repetition 
of the following six manipula- 

Pass cotton in front of needle 6 and 
thread needle 5. 

Pass cotton in front of needle 4 and 
thread needle 3. 

Pass cotton in front of needle 2 and 
thread needle 1. 

Pass cotton in front of needle 1 and 
thread needle 2. 

Pass cotton in front of needle 3 and 
thread needle 4 . 

Pass cotton in front of needle 5 and 
thread needle 6. 

53. With two long sticks. — 
Knitting. The Carib and Ma- 
kusi maniifacture a cotton cord 
not only for tying aroimd the waist to support the "lap," but 
also for making a handle to the club (pi. 39, A, B), whereby it 
is slmig onto the wrist. It is made by women. Two lengths 
(pi. 11 A, a, b), of the smooth "arrow reed" (the plant used for 
making arrows from) are loosely tied at one extremity, their 
other being held vertically between the left thumb and fii-st joint 
of the forefinger: in the diagram these sticks are represented 
as much shortened. A piece of cotton from a cotton ball is next 

23. — Cotton-band makmg: with four (-t-L) and 
six ( Jf) rounded split-eye needles. 


wound five times on the free extremities of the sticks, with the 
lowermost coil between and the remaining four around them, the 
free end of the cotton (tliroughout the process of manufacture) being 
held taut by the thumb, the other end of the cotton remaining 
attached to the ball; the ball end of the cotton always remains on 
the maker's right-hand side. According to whether a thick or 
thin cord is required, a cotton thread of proportionate diameter is 
employed. Coimting from above dowii, the fourth coil is now 
pulled upon so as to form a loop (and the smooth surface of the 
cane minimizes the friction consequent upon the first three coils 
being dragged upon), this loop being then passed over one (n) of 
the sticks, so as to hang to the right (B). Both sticks are now 
turned over in the hand from right to left, so as to reverse their 
positions, and the loop made to hang on the left (C). Its lowest 
portion is then picked up and pulled out from mider the lowest coil, 
and the whole then passed over the right-hand stick (D). The sticks 
are again reversed to their original position (E), the loop made to 
hang on the left, and its lowest portion similarly picked up and pulled 
from under the lowest (half) coil, to be passed over the right-hand 
stick (F, G), over which it falls. The former illustration represents 
the cotton purposely relaxed for the occasion to show the ins and outs 
of the procedure, while the latter indicates the process in situ. After 
reversal, etc. (H), the lowest coil is pulled upon to form another 
loop, but as this same coil is in direct continuity with the original 
loop, all it really does is to replace it by another and slightly larger 
one, which is similarly passed over the right-hand stick (J). Again 
reversing and with loop on left (K), the lowest portion of the latter 
is picked up, pulled out, and passed over the right stick (L). 
And so the process is repeated by successively reversing, pulling on 
lowest portion of loop, and passing over the right-hand stick (M, N); 
again (O, P); again (Q, K); again (S, T); again (V), and so on until 
the desired length is obtained, when the cord is bodily slipped off 
the free ends of the sticks. On its removal the cord will be observed 
to be more or less like a dumb-bell in section (W), the flattened 
"handle" having been produced by the horizontal portions of the 
cotton strand passed between the sticks. The whole is finally put 
upon the stretch, a position in which it will be found to remain (Y), 
the section of the cord now showing a quatrefoil. The extremities 
have finally to be tied, the stitch not being a "lock" (WER, iii). 

54. Around a single stick. — A somewhat rare tubular cotton belt, 
of which two specimens are in the Georgetown Museum (fig. 24), 
was formerly made by Arekuna. It is constructed on apparently 
identical lines as the kamwairi belt (sec. 544) around a wooden 
pencil, but of many more loops, the number in one of the above 
examples being 15. After removal from the stick it is stuffed with 




silk grass, the initial and final sei'ies of loops being threaded onto 
the tying strings. 

55. With a loom. — Band weaving on a loom, though in a primitive 
fasliion, is found among the Arawak, Carib, and Warrau. It is a 
process adopted in the manufacture of certain cotton anklets, fore- 
head and waist bands, baby slings (pi. 10 C), etc., and may possibly 
represent an old-time method of hanmiock weaving (sec. 476). A 
loom or framework is made by driving two thin sticks vertically 
into the ground and tying crosspieces onto them above and below 
(pi. 12 A). A length of cotton is next tied over the crosspieces and 
knotted (k), the remainder being wound over and over again until 

Fig. 24. — Tubular cotton Tielt. (Georgetown Museum.) 

it is finally fixed (l). As these lengths ultimately constitute the 
warp of the completed article, the number of loops into which the 
cotton is wound round will vary with the width of article required. 
The constituents of each loop, front and back, are next approxi- 
mated and linked by means of a separate thread (c) fixed after the 
manner of a chain twist, the two ends of which are tied on one side 
(B). The "presser" or "beater" (C) is now passed through from 
right to left under and over each alternate string, firmly pressed 
and rammed down on its edge (B; n), so as to render the chain twist 
taut, even, and straight. [This presser, about 8 or 9 inches long, 
is very like a miniature paddle, and is actually so called by the 


Arawak — viz, nahalehi tohurilo-Jcwanmt , i.e., paddle; to knock, hit, 
etc.] It is next raised a little distance and turned on the flat so as 
to enlarge the front-to-back interspace between the warp con- 
stituents (D), thus rendering the insertion of the first stretch of 
weft (w) from left to right a comparatively easy matter. The 
beater is now turned on its edge again, pressed and rammed down 
onto the weft, and drawn aside, only to be reinserted into the warp 
in and out alternately among the strings, but with this difference, 
that those threads which were all in front of it before are now beliind. 
After pressure, etc., with its edge down, the presser is again raised 
and turned on the flat, so as to enable the second line of weft to be 
formed by inserting it in between from right to left, and then ram- 
mmg down as before. The process is thus repeated again and again 
by inserting the weft from alternate sides (E) along the passage 
made for it by the beater between the constituents of the warp, 
until such time as the requisite length of band is obtained, when 
the weft is finally tied onto one edge of the warp. Removed from 
the crosspieces, each of the loops at top and bottom (i. e., through 
which the crosspieces passed) is rolled separately into a tassel (F). 
A short length of band thus "fhiished off" may be used as an anklet, 
being secured to the limb by tying the two series of tassels together; 
it is worn by both men and women, the former, however, using nar- 
rower ones (sec. 552). Waist bands (sec. 548) are made on a similar 
plan, but of course with a much longer framework (WER, iii). 
Instead of making the cotton band with a weft passing under and 
over a single warp, it may pass under and over two at a time, as in 
the cotton fillets of the hats of the Makusi and other tribes (sec. 518). 
56. A somewhat peculiar kind of cotton work, for which I know 
of no adequate term, has been met in the manufactm-e of certain 
baby slmgs (Ch. XX) and some fringed apron belts (sec. 548; pi. 
154 B; fig. 231). In the former case I have supplied and figured the 
necessary details of the process which for the present I am describing 
as "looping on a frame," or "frame looping." 



A, Wapishan-i. B, MakiisL 

Chapter IV 


Maxiiitia (ite) twine (57^: Saraii (58) and uses (59'); sensoro and uses (60); knapsack 

straps (61, 62 »; bina strings (63). 
Bromelia (silk grass, kuraua) twine (64): Use for fishlines (65-69); employed with 

needle (70); three-yarn hammock ropes (71). 
Astrocaryum and remaining twines, etc.: Attalea hmifera, Leopoldina piassaba, 

Carludovica, etc. (72). 

57. Mauritia, ite (seta) twine. — The yoimg unopened leaf of tlie 
Mauritia Jlexuosa palm, the ite of the Creole, Arawak, etc., is cut away 
from the tree, shaken 
out, and opened, and the 
distal extremity of each 
segment treated as fol- 
lows : While the segment 
is firmly secm-ed in posi- 
tion with the left hand, 
its extreme tip is bent 
between the right thumb 
and forefinger, the por- 
tion of blade imme- 
diately below being 
doubled upon itself and 
gripped between the 
same thmiib and middle 
finger (fig. 25 A). Dur- 
ing the course of a com- 
paratively slow move- 
ment which the right 
hand now makes toward 
the operator it glides 
over the doubled por- 
tion of segment, but at 
the same time squeezes 
it so tightly as to pro- 
duce a kink on both its sui-faces. It is owing to this kink that 
the cortex can now be seized, and once seized, stripped to its 
base, both front and back, where it remains until all the remain- 
ing segments have been similarly treated. These cortical strips, 
now known as tibishii-i (Arawak) are finally all removed and 
either soaked in water for a week or boiled for half an hour or so 
and washed; the}' are next sundried for a week or ten days, those 
obtamed from one leaf beiiig usually tied up at one end together into 


Ftg. 25.— Manufacture of ite (mauritia) twine. 


a knot. The length of such a strip will be from 26 to 30 inches. This 
stripping of the tibishiri and its manufacture into twine is essentially 
woman's work. According to the size of thread required, 'each strip 
can be used split (by means of the thumb nail), and again split to 
make a very fine twine, or emploj-ed whole. According to the method 
of manufacture, the thread, when completed, is known as sarau or 
sensoro (Arawak). 

58. To make the sarau, two strips, held at one extremity between 
the left forefinger and thumb (B), rest upon the naked (right) thigh, 
where, with the flat of the (right) palm, they are rolled along the 
middle third of the thigh, once upward, toward the hip, at the same 
time that the left hand, pulling outward, keeps them stretched. 
During the com-se of this movement, wherein the pressure is exerted 
principally from the ball of the little finger and con-esponding half of 
the palm, it must be remembered that though these may override, 
each strip is rolled separately in a spiral or twist, the direction of 
which may be described (C) as being from right to left (regarding it 
with its axis vertical). Without removing the right hand, so as to 
prevent the strips untwisting, but only shifting the pressure toward 
the outer edge of the palm, both strips are then rolled together along 
the outer third of the thigh, once downward toward the kiiee (D). 
The result is that the portion intervening between the two hands, 
constituting now the manufactm-ed twine, will of comse be found 
twisted from left to right, while the free ends hanging over the thigh 
beyond the right hand will be recognized as having twisted them- 
selves together from right to left (E), the separation and fixation 
of these two opposite spirals takuig place at the ''lock" (I) where 
the main pressure of the palm edge was exerted.' The right-to-left 
spiral formed by the free ends, due to the original and separate 
rolling of each component in that direction, is now opened by inserting 
the right forefinger into the lock and pulling outward (F) ; the left- 
to-right spiral in the piece of completed twine retains its direction 
owmg to that of its constituents being both of them in the opposite 
direction. The whole process of rolling up and down is again and 
again repeated until a distance of about 5 or 6 inches from their 
extremities is reached, when a new strip (G, r) is rolled into and with 
the shorter (b) of the two original, this compoimd one (H, b, c) and the 
single original («) being together rolled, in the manner above 
described, into another short length of twine (K) until the ends of two 
strips only (that of the newly introduced and that of the original) 
again remain free; another stri]> is next rolled in with the now very 
much shorter single original one, and both compound ones twisted 
up again. It is a case of rolling only two at a time. A twine can thus 
be manufactm"ed bit by bit into any length required (WER, ni). 

' The reader is requested to observe that, for clearness' sake, the original twist of each ply, indicated in 
C, is not shown in E. For the same reason tlie original twist of each ply in L is not indicated in M. 




59. The sarau is used for making the "bar" variety of hammock 
(sec. 463), and for the constituents of the scale lines (sec. 480). In 
the latter case the fiber is rolled more coarsely and a three-ply made 
instead of a two-ply. The method and procediu-e are identical, 
though on a larger scale, of com-se, with what is to be observed in the 
manufactm-e of the hiu'i-aring variety of km-aua twine (sec. 69). 

60. The sensoro is made on an exactly reverse plan to the ordinary 
two-ply sarau, each strip (fig. 25 L) being rolled separately down the 
middle third of the thigh, and then together up (M), with the addition 
that, owing, it is stated, to the increased thickness of twine resulting 
from the two strips being generally used ims]ilit, the rolling in either 
direction is repeated two, three, or more times. To prevent the 
two strips becoming untwisted on 
completion of each successive roll 
in the same directio'n they are 
deftly picked up between the right 
thumb and forefinger before the pres- 
sure exerted by the palm on their 
distal ends is removed and so placed 
in suitable position read}' for the 
next roll. The completed sensoro 
thread can always be distinguished 
from the two-ply sarau by its twist 
being a right-to-left one. It is em- 
ployed for making the purse-net (sec. 
477) hammock (WER, m). 

61. The strap or band (pi. 13 A) 
used by the Wapishana with their 
shoulder basket is made from the 
ite on the following lines: After 
removal of the shreds (outer cuticle) 
from the leaf by the process already 
described (sec. 57) they are rolled 
down the thigh (but not made into twine) and inserted, at about 7 or 8 
inches from their bases, either into a stick split down about three- 
([uarters of its length and tightly tied at its open end, or in between two 
sticks similarly fixed at their extremities (fig. 26 A) . In either case the 
insertion of each shred is alternate, one being passed from above and its 
neighbor from below. There thus arises a double layer of slireds — an 
upper (a) and a lower bundle (&) — each of which is loosely knotted at its 
distal extremity with the idea of keeping all its constituents free from 
entanglement. The free basal ends are of no concern to us for the 
present. A comparatively long length of ite twine is now laid at its 
middle, parallel with the sticks, in between the two layers (B), which 
are next crossed over it, the crossing being effected by passing each 

Manufacture of Wapishana shoulder 
strap or band. 


unit of the one series in between an interspace of the other, with the 
result that, what just previous to the crossing was the upper layer is 
now the lower, and rice versa (C) . The two ends of the fiber twine are 
next pulled through from opposite sides, the crossing of the two layers 
repeated, the twme again pulled through, and so on, until a sufficient 
length of band shall have been completed (D). Starting from the 
stick end, each double loop of twine is tightened in turn by puUhig 
upon it at the sides, as with a shoe lace, for instance, and then* ends 
finally tied. After removal from between the sticks, the extremities 
of the shreds are rolled up with additional threads and plaited. 

63. Another form of strap, also of mauritia twine, met with among 
the Makusi, is of similar construction as regards the split stick, etc., 
but differs in the absence of a cross twine, the two layers of shreds, 
starting at the central sticks, being plaited into one another (pi. 13 B). 

63. Bina strings (WER, vi, 277) of manritia fiber are always 
used in pairs, a short, thin, and a comparatively long, thick, tapering 
one. The latter is soaked in the particular bina required, placed 
in a small calabash cup, and left there all night. In addition to 
the bina it may have various ants, bee stings, etc., stuck here and 
there into its meshes. In the early morning the shorter string is 
passed' up one or the other nostril, and by means of the forefinger 
hooked out from the back of the throat through the mouth, one end 
being left hanging out of the nostril (pi. 14 A). The end passing out 
of the mouth is now securely tied to the fine tapering extremity 
of the thicker cord, which is next pidled through the mouth, back 
of the throat, and so out again at the nostril. The following extract 
from my field note book (June 20, 1914) may prove of interest here: 
"Robert, at the Makusi village of Maripai, uses a certain bright green 
arboreal frog, known as kope, for a bina. Wlien fresh, he rubs the 
slimy material from off the animal's back onto his chest, which he 
has especially incised for the purpose. Wlien smoke dried, he soaks 
it in water contained in a little gourbi (calabash cup), and after 
moistening the bina string with the same water, pulls it through 
his nose," as indicated above. 

64. "SUk grass," kuraua, twine. — The manufactiu-e of the Bromelia 
or silk grass, the pita of the Orinoco, the kuraua of the Creoles, etc., is 
effected as follows (fig. 27 A) : A leaf (Z) is fixed in a loop cord (c) 
attached to a strong crossbeam, the loop being at about the same 
distance from the gromid as the operator's head. The leaf itself is 
suspended, not at its middle, but with its thicker basal (proximal) end 
the longer. Its distal extremity is next attached under and over (B) 
onto a stiff roimd stick (s) and gripped in position between the right 
fore and middle fingers, and between both hands. A sharp pull dowii- 
ward is made. This tears about 6 or 7 inches of outer cortex from off 
the inner fibrous structures aromid which the torn shreds hang and 
below which the proximal portion of the leaf remains free (C) . This 


A , Bina string boiiiR pulled through the nostril. 

Bj Jrakiiig a bead apron. 

(Photographs by Messrs. Liljcwatsch and Thulin.) 


B A 




1 A« 

1 ^:< 



c c 

Cdx. I 





SCALE LINES. ETC. (After Koth.) 




latter extremity after being pulled down a bit is next turned upward 
so as to form a sort of sheath for the fibers already freed (D) and is 
steadily but firmly pulled off and cast aside. This pulling off is a 
somewhat tricky business, the art being to close the upturned sheath 
above with the left thumb and forefinger so as to prevent the fibrous 
core from slipping out (E) and to clench it below between the corre- 
sponding digits of the right; the purpose of the remaining fingers is 
rather to guide and steady the sheath during the pull exerted by both 
hands. The exposed fibers remaining suspended are next picked and 
cleaned of any debris. The distal end of the leaf is again similarly 
fixed over the cross stick 
and pulled, with the result 
that the whole proximal 
extremity of the leaf is 
dragged through the loop, 
whence it emerges entirel*: 
cleared of its outer cortex. 
The leaf, such as is left of 
it, is again fixed on the 
loop, and its proximal 
fibers together wound 
over the cross stick, in ex- 
actly similar fashion as the 
distal extremity originally 
was: by pulling sharply 
dowaiward, the cross stick 
drags away in their en- 
tirety the fibers now 
cleared of all cortical sub- 
stance. Tliis forcible pull- 
ing out of the kuraua fiber 
is man's work, the strength 
required for cleaning the 
cortex from off the prox- 
imal extremity being too 
much for the women. In the absence of a son or other assistant, 
a wife may help by looping three or four leaves in a row ready 
for her husband to pull, and may perhaps complete his work by 
dragging off the distal portions which require far less vigor in their 
manipulation. Of course here and there are to be found some 
women who are physically capable of carrying out the complete 
pulling process by themselves, but always on the lines above 
described, i. e., commencing with the cleaning of the proximal 
extremity of the leaf (WER, iii). 

65. Kuraua twine is utilized for fishlines, hammocks (AEW, 208), 
bow strings, scale lines, and hammock ropes. The methods of 

Fig. 27.— Manufacture of kuraua (Bromelia) twine. 


manufacture will vary with the purposes for which it is ultimately 
intended. With the Pomeroon Arawak, the operator has to be in- 
formed of the name of the particular kind required, the different 
names of the completed article depending for the most part upon the 
particular fish which, when used as a line, it will be emploj'ed in 
catching. These are the hokoro, imiri, korasso, huri, etc., not all of 
which I have so far had opportunities of getting identified, the twine 
being indicated by this name and the suffix -aring. The variations 
in technique are mainly due to the proximal ends of the fiber shreds 
being so much greater, comparatively speaking, than the distal, and it 
is to obviate this inequality that the methods about to be described 
are employed. As a preliminary it may be noted that all these twines 
are formed by a down-and-up rolling on the thigh, leg, or even the 
breast (ARW, 208), which gives rise to a right-to-left spiral. 

66. The hokoro-aring (pi. 15 A) is the finest of all the kuraua 
twines, being made up of a thickness of two-fiber shreds. These {a, 6) 
are placed side by side but with their opposite ends together so as to 
insure uniform thickness throughout. The rolling upon the thigh — 
once down and onceup — is commenced at about the outer third of either 
extremity, and the shorter end completed into twine. The reason for 
not making a commencement with the rolling at the actual extremity 
is that the movements here with a thick and a thin fiber would not be 
regular. The portion of completed twine next changes hands, and 
the rolling is started again from the point of commencement so as to 
complete the remainder; when the extremity is approached two new 
fiber shreds (c, d) are successively rolled into it (as described in the case 
of the ite), but care has to be taken that as each is inserted the distal 
and proximal ends of the two original fiber shreds are connected with 
the new proximal and distal ones, respectively. Wlien completed, the 
line will thus be just about double the length of a fiber shred. The 
oradiro-aring is manufactured in identical manner, and only differs 
from it in that it is about three times as long. 

67. The next thicker kuraua twine is the imiri-aring (B). A 
loose strand is niade of two, three, or four fiber shreds (a, a, a), 
similar ends together, and rolled as a whole a few times dowTi and 
up, so as to give comparative cohesion. Another loose strand, of 
an identical number of shreds (h, b, h), is similarly manufactured, 
and laid upon the previous one, but with opposite ends together. 
Commencing with the center of the two superimposed strands, they 
are now rolled into twine, the usual once-down and once-up move- 
ment being continued until the extremity is reached. This done, 
the whole is turned round, rolling recommenced at the middle, and 
the other half made into twine. The completed article (c) is thus 
limited to the length of one fiber shred. 

68. The korasso-armg (C), used for spring hooks as well as for 
lines, is made of four bundles (ax, bx, ex, dx) of fiber shreds, each 


buudle with similar ends together, and each containing, as far as 
the operator can judge, an equal number of shreds, an\nvhere from 
about 12 to as many as 24. The proximal end of one bimdle {ax) 
is just sufficiently rolled into a corresponding length of the distal 
extremity of a second (hx) as to make one very loose strand of 
them — the length of a fiber shred. A similar procedure is carried 
out with the third and fourth (ex, dx). The two resulting strands 
are next placed side by side together, and the thigh rolling com- 
menced at their center — once down and once up. When the twine 
on one side is finished, the whole is turned round, rolling recom- 
menced at the starting point, and the other half completed. The 
finished article (y) is thus the length of one fiber shred. 

69, Unlike all the preceding kuraua twines, the huri-aring is 
formed by the rolling together of three bundles of fibers. It is 
made not only for catching that particular fish, but certain others, 
its manufacture varying only in the length employed. Thus, while 
the huri-aring measures at most 2 fathoms, the oradiro-, the warburi-, 
and the lukunanni-aring run up to something like 4, while the 
wirokotori-aring will measure from 20 to 24. So also hammock 
scale lines which are made in an identical manner will reach this 
extreme length and, if necessary, can eventually be manufactured 
into a hammock rope. A bowstring is another article built up on 
the same lines as the huri-aring. As a matter of fact, the method 
of maimfacture of the huri-aring demonstrates how increased length 
and uniform thickness can be siijiultaneously obtained (D) : Several 
bundles of kuraua {ax, hx, ex, etc.) are arranged so that each will 
contain about an equal number — say, 12 — fiber slireds, all arranged, 
of course, with similar ends together. With three bundles (ax, 
ix, ex), which are placed one slightly in advance of the other, a 
start is made at about 6 inches from their thinner extremity, where all 
three are rolled into one, once down and once up, and this shorter end 
of the twine completed first. Taken off and reversed on the thigh, 
the longer end is commenced to be rolled at the starting point, and 
when about halfway to completion, the distal (thin) extremity of a 
fourth bundle {dx) is rolled into the hindmost one {ex) of the original 
three {edx), which are then again all rolled together (i, ii). After 
a while the distal (thin) end of a fifth bundle {ex) is rolled into the 
second (bx) of the original three {hex), and all three again rolled 
together (iii, iv). Later, the distal exti-emity of a sixth bundle is 
similarly joined into the third of the original tliree, the whole again 
rolled, and so the process is repeated by inserting the thin extremity 
of a new bundle successively into the thick extremity of the hindmost 
bundle exposed. Experience alone seems to teach the operator when 
the varying thickness of the resulting twine renders it opportune to 
insert a new bundle (WEE, iii). 

70. The Uaupes River Indians employ true needles — that is, ones 
with eyes — made of monke}' bone, for sewing together the component 


parts of the bark dresses used in their mask dances (KG, i, 117; ii, 
169). They are threaded with kuraua fiber. 

71. It was stated in a previous paragraph (sec. 69) that kuraua 
scale lines can eventually be made into a hammock rope (pi. 15 E). 
Three scale lines are required for the purpose. At one extremity 
they are each tied to a knobbed wooden handle; at the other, after 
being passed around a strong post set vertically in the ground, they 
are tied together. The handles, some 7 or 8 inches long, with their 
lines taut, are each rolled simultaneously in a right-to-left spiral 
(similar to the sensoro of the ite). Still keeping up the stretch, 
the three handles are transferred to the charge of one assistant, 
while another pulls the tied ends beyond the post and twists them 
in an opposite direction — a left-to-right spiral (like the sarau). 
Starting from the tied extremity, and with the tension still main- 
tained, the third operator (F) then guides the three scale lines 
(already tending to roll into one another in a left-to-right spiral 
owing to the torsion to which they have been severally and sepa- 
rately subjected) into their respective relatively proper courses to 
form the three-yarn hammock rope. The extremity of such a rope 
(G) is "finished off" by tying tight, and then loosening all the free 
ends of the strands (a), which are now bent backward and tied again 
lower down (b), to be subsequently turned up again and finally tied 
a third time above (c). 

72. Of remaining twines, etc., there are the tucum and yauary 
(awarra), very lasting threads for -hammock weaving, fish netting, 
etc., both obtained from species of Astrocaryum , a "pimpler" palm. 
Unfortunately I have never seen the process of manufacture. At 
Sao Gabriel, on the Rio Negro, Schomburgk speaks of the men making 
cordage or piazaba from the fibers of the Attalea funif era (ScQ, 255). 
Humboldt alludes to the Leopoldina piassaha under the Venezuelan 
name of cliiqui-chiqui. The whole stem is covered with a thick 
coating of fibers, hanging down like coarse hair, and growing from 
the bases of the leaves which remain attached to the stem. It is 
used for cables and small ropes for canoes and larger vessels on the 
Amazon (ARW, 167). Finally, there are many bush-ropes, nibbi, 
or sippi — e. g., Carludovica (the mamuri of the Creoles, milna of the 
Makusi) which may be used as twine m then- natiiral condition. 
The lower ends of this vine, being less knotty, are the portions used. 
Its collection, however, is not without risk, because as the Indian 
sharply jerks and pulls it down from off its entwined tree, he imme- 
diately has to skip out of the way to avoid the broken timbers, twigs, 
and ants' nests that often accompany its fall. Mamuri can be like- 
wise employed split for basketwork. The same may be said of the 
kamwarri vine {Desmoncus sp.), which is cut to the length required 
and the pimpler at each joint, together with the outer cortex, scraped 
off with a knife (sec. 104). 

Chapter V 

Varieties of beads: Fish-tooth (73); shell (74'); seed (75); (|uartz, stone, glass (76). 
Methods of threading beads (77). 
Manufacture of the hiead apron (78). 

73. Beads of fishes' teeth were noted both by Bolingbroke (Bol, 
145) and by Bancroft. The latter says they [the Carib] likewise 
form the teeth of fish into small cylindere, which they perforate with 
a hole from end to end, and then cut the cylinder into short pieces, 
thus making white, smooth, shining beads which are strung and 
worn for ornament (BA, 257). 

74. Shell beads were manufactured by the Carib Islanders. They 
were made of small pieces of the lembies [or lambis, the large 
shells used as signal horns, etc.], which they rub on stones until they 
become round and about two lines in diameter and half a line in 
thickness, in a necklace of ordinary size; . . . and they could not 
make one piece to perfection and pierce it with the tools that they use 
in less than three days . . . There are three to four thousand of 
these pieces in a necklace (PBR, 233). Among the Makusi I came 
across small marine shells threaded in their entirety into necklaces. 
In Cayenne beads were made from river shell, or species of Burgos 
ground on sandstone into rings (cercles) (PBA, 194) or cones ' (figure 
d'une quille) (PBA, 196), and, along our own borders, the Arekuna 
also often wear armlets of threaded pieces of shell (EU, 291). Un- 
fortunately, in both cases, the natm-e of the shell, whether land or 
marine, is not specified. The Caberre and many Carib women on 
the Orinoco manufactured necklaces, armlets, etc., from beads made 
of snail shell (G, i, 125). In none of these cases is there any record 
of the method by which the perforation was effected. In the 
Makusi, etc., bell or cone ornament of the lower lip (sec. 503) and 
the disldike decoration of the forearm (sec. 540), which may be 
regarded as elongate and flattened beads, respectively, a natural 
perforation already exists in the mammillary protuberance of the 
shell from which they are cut. 

75. I have seen dozens of different kinds of seeds, seed capsules, 
etc., threaded for necklaces, etc., but their scientific identification 
has not been possible so far. Crevaux has described the method of 
drilling chips from the seed envelope of the Omphalea into beads 
(sec. 19) . 

1 From analogy with the shape of certain shell beads met with among the Carib stock of Indians, and in 
Cayenne, I am purposely translating the word quille as a cone, instead of as a skittle. 



76. Beads of quartz (sec. 537), greenstone (WER, vi, 241), and 
similar material (sec. 505) are not unknown (pi. 16, fig. 2), and the 
artificial piercing of the first mentioned has been recorded (sec. 20 ) . 
Throughout the Guianas, glass beads are employed in the construction 
of aprons, where the method of threading them is peculiar (pi. 1 8 A, B ;i . 
They are strung on two horizontally placed weft threads (cotton or 
silk grass) between which vertical warps pass, with the result that 
the web is kept compact, and has the same appearance in front as 
behind (sees. 78, 549) . 

77. In other cases — e. g., threading beads for necklaces, armlets, 
and other similar articles (pi. 16, fig. 1 ) — the units may be hung directly 
on the supporting string (A) or threaded on separate loops (B) or 
on a continuous one, the latter varA'ing according to whether the 
two components of each pass singly- (C) or together (D) through the 
supporting band. This band may consist of from 4 to 6, 8 (E), 10 or 
more strands, and is worked, so far as the insertion of the loops is 
concerned, on the same lines as the 4-strand top crosstie of the bead 
apron to be now described. 

78. The technique of a bead apron as made by an Akawai (its 
construction is similar throughout the tribes) would be as follows: 

The frame (pi. 17 A) is built of a bent switch (a) tied an inch or 
two above its ends to a straight crosspiece (&). A length of medium- 
sized cotton twine is attached to the ui)per portion of the switch 
and jiassing twice backward and forward gives a tie (c) formed of 
four strands. Owing to the bend in the switch, broader below 
than above, the tighter tliis tie is pulled in the subsequent manipu- 
lation the more firmly will its extremities be drawn into position. 
Another strand of cotton (B, d), still attached to its ball (e), is now 
fixed to the right extremity of the tie and plaited into it like this: 
While the right forefinger (f) raises the two middle strands (g, h) of 
the four constituting the tie, the left hand holding the ball of cotton 
im^^inds from off it a length sufficient to form a loop reaching about 
3 inches below the crosspiece. The left hand, holding this loop in 
its pahn, passes the ball between the middle and outer strands of 
the tie, for which space is made by the right forefinger. The latter 
is now withch'awn and reinserted (C) so as to raise the two outer 
strands (K, I) of the tie and the cotton ball passed back again to form 
another loop of similar length as before and, like it, held in the left 
hand. The process is thus repeated and loop after loop formed 
imtil the left-hand extremity of the tie is reached. The com- 
bined result of this method of inserting, releasing, and reinserting 
the right forefinger is to form two chain twists out of the original 
tie, and these constitute the upper limits of the apron to be manu-. 
factured. The loops above described ultimately form the warp and are 
dealt with (D) as follows: The last three loops («0 at either end of 



C E 



((jeorgeLou n Mu:^eulll.) 






the tie are firmly knotted in one bundle either to or outside of the 
.junction of switch and crosspiece and will finally constitute the 
lateral limits of the apron. The intervening loops are cut at their 
extremities and their constituents (n) in bundles of 8, 9, 10, or so, 
loosely looped onto the crosspiece. In the meantime (pi. ISA) the weft 
o has been prepared. This consists of two strands of very fine cotton of 
a length sufficient to complete the article of dress. Some 3 or 4 feet of 
this two-strand cotton is threaded at a time with the beads, the 
remainder being rolled into a miniature hank or skein. The bead end of 
the weft is fi^ed to the tie and is then passed through the upper ends of 
the first three loops — that is, those of the outermost uncut bmidle (m) — 
leaving a couple of beads between each. The next bimdle is now 
unlooped from the stick and its constituents separately and in rota- 
tion passed through the two strands between every two beads — 
that is, instead of the weft strands being passed in and out between 
the warps the reverse process takes place. The warp strands having 
been thus dealt with and the weft tightened and pressed to its 
uppermost limits, theii' ends are again loosely looped onto the cross- 
piece and the next bmidle dealt with in similar fashion. When 
the last bundle is reached, it is treated as the first one — namely, 
the weft is passed through the three loops and a couple of beads left 
between each. Tm-niiig over the frame now, work is recommenced 
from right to left, but jirevious to the insertion of the weft into 
the first three loops the two halves of each loop are twdsted to pre- 
vent the first row of weft from slipping down out of place. Other- 
wise the process is identical, care being taken when the last bundle 
of tliree loops is reached that a similar twist is made as before. 
The frame is again turned over, work recommenced from right to left, 
and thus row after row formed until the required depth is obtained 
(B) (pis. 14 B; 18 C). To obtain the correct shape peculiar to this 
apron (a width greater below than above) one of two or sometimes 
both measures are resorted to — an increase in the number of beads 
intervening between the warp strings or the attachment here and 
there of another strand to a warp, so as to make two of it. 

The manufacture of a bead apron is essentially woman's work. 
In Surinam, de Goeje says they are made either on a board or on a 
wooden frame, of which he figures a somewhat unusual shape (GO, 6). 
In the illustration on plate 14 B, the operator has passed her thighs 
through the frame in between the bend of the switch and the cotton 
cross-tie : a position that at first sight makes the shape of the frame 
appear unusual. 

60160°— 24 9 

Chapter VI 


Attachment to string: Of larger-sized feathers (79); of smaller-sized feathers (80). 
Tying of feather: To feather (81); to stick, etc. (82). 
Employment of feather on arrow (83). 
Cultivation of artificially colored feathers (84). 

79. Comparatively little featherwork is now to ne met with in the 
area under consideration (sec. 476). La Condamine says: The 
Mayna, Omagua, and divers other Indians make some works in 
feathers, but they neither come up to the art nor the neatness of 
those of the Americans (LCo, 86). It will be sufHcient here to note 
the various methods employed in the attachment of feathers to strings, 
sticks, and arrows. 

The method of fixing a feather on a string will depend on the size 
of the feather. Thus, in the tippets (sec. 538) of the Makusi, Wapi- 
shana, and Waiwai, in certain hat crowns (eagle and fowl feather) 
of the Waiwai, and numbers of other ornaments worn by Inchans 
in the extreme south of British Guiana, wherever the larger-sized 
feathers are employed, the procedure is as follows (fig. 28): Hold 
the feather with its underside downward between thumb and 
index of left hand (A) in such a manner that the midrib rests on 
the ball of the thumb and the quill falls over the wTist. With a 
very sharp knife make a cut into the midrib at a spot as near its distal 
extremity as possible. The cut is not made directly downward at 
right angles to the surface, but at an angle on the slope toward you, 
and only to a depth that will admit of no damage being done to the 
adjacent barbs. With the little piece of shaving pressed between 
the knife blade and the right thumb, the upper surface of the midrib 
is gradually yet firmly torn back tmtil a spot is reached about 2 
inches from its junction with the quill, when it is cut off (B). Again 
fixing the feather in a similar position, catch hold of its right half, 
with the right thumb and index, about one-half inch from its tip, 
and, pulling gently, drag off the barbs with their attached sheath to 
a level with the cut surface of the midrib (C). Turn the feather 
over and drag off in similar fasMon the corresponding set of barbs 
on the other half of the feather (D). Now divide the midrib at the 
spot where the two sets of barbs have been freed, and smooth them 
out of the curl into which the late manipulation has inclined them (E). 
The quill is next cut just below its proximal extremity on its under- 
side with a comparatively long incision passing downiward, toward 
you (F), and a second short cut to meet it, passing upward, from 




you (Cf), the result being a more or less shallow gap, about half the 
depth of the quill (H, K) . Fix a string across two sticks stuck into 
the ground and make a start from the left extremity. Placing the 
cut quill at the back, bend its apex, at the gap, over the top of the 
string, and, fixing it into the hollow at the base of the gap, press it 
firmly into the quill (L) . Feather after feather is thus looped over 
and fixed into its own quill, and when a sufficient number has been 
fLxed each is finally held in position, both vnth its adjoining neighbors 
and the top string, by means of four cotton twines. These latter are 
woven over them from left to right in chain-stitch fashion (M) in the 

^ f w ^^ m 

Fig. 28.— Makusi tippet. Preparation and fixation of large-sized feathers. 

same way as the four-weft bars of the Wapishana, Makusi, etc., 
hammocks (sec. 466). 

80. The ordinary method of fixing smaller-sized feathers on a string 
is somewhat less complicated. Pulling off the fluffy portion at the base 
of the quill, barbs are removed, from both sides of the thicker end 
of the midrib, along a distance sufficient to allow of the latter, from 
off which the quill has been now cut, being looped over the twine 
(fig. 29 A, B, a) upon wliich it is to be stnmg. This twine is stretched 
between two sticks, the freed midrib bent over and tied ■«dth a single 
tying string (6), the type of knot appearing to vary with individual 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

taste. The two commonest forms are illustrated (A, B). Feather 
after feather is thus inserted, until finally, for the purpose of holding 
them in their relative position, a very fine kuraua thread (c) is run 
through each, tying in its course every midrih toward its thinner end. 






Fig. 29. — Fixatioa of smaller-sized feathers. 

Wlien thus strung on a twine for the ornamentation of the plaited 
hat crowns, they are suhsequently cut to the length required. Some- 
times two, even three feathers, may be tied together in one loop (sec. 
521). On the other hand, the smaller-sized 
feathers may be used singly, as is the case 
with the handle stick of the Arawak medicine 
man's rattle (sec. 44). 

81. On occasion it may be necessary to at- 
tach feather to feather, an interesting exam- 
ple being met with in the nose ornament of 
the Waiwai. This is formed of two macaw 
feathers, with a small pointed wooden peg 
tightly inserted into the quill of one. The 
peg, passed thi-ough the nasal septum, is in- 
serted into the empty quill end of the other, 
so as to give the appearance of continuity. 
Along the midrib of each feather, both front 
and back, are gummed small pieces of colored 
feathers, overlapping from tip to base (JO). 

82. When small feathers are to be attached 
ornamentally to sticks, as the handle of the Wapishana rattle, the 
method adopted is very simple (fig. 30). Overcastmg the stick from 
right to left, a feather is taken up at every few turns of the cotton 
strand and womid romid and round the quill. 

Fig. 30.— Attachment of smaller- 
sized feathers to a stick. 



7n ni Tn, 


, B, Method of llircadiny Ihc beads. 

I'. Tlir aprtiii ill course of c-oiislrnilion. 



Method of attachment of feathers to arrow: I^iamoiid (B). elau- ( C, F). l>ar i D). and spiral (£). 








''il l ;i l[ i iiT | ri]rfr 








••v-.v;v--. '"^ 




-^i^iii^^v^^^^;-'"' ";^ ^ 



yl, Hexagonal mesh. Height 380 mm. (Cecrgetown Muscnm.) 

B, Loopod mesh. Hdf;hL 321) mm. Believed to have loilii' frum IheCoreiityn River. (Georgetown .Museum.) 



83. If a feather is to he employed on an arrow (pi. 19) it is 
subjected to certain preliminaries (A), in that it is first cut across (o) 
its base to leave a length of about 4 inches, the barbs of the smaller 
segment of vane removed by slicing along (&) the midrib, the barbs 
at the tip (c) and base of the larger segment cleared away (d), and 
the free base of the midrib split in the same plane as the vane. 
Two feathers having been thus prepared, they are fixed in position 
by tying their thmner free extremities toward the butt end of the 
arrow shaft, care being taken that they lie in the same plane as the 
arrow tip. The attachment of the barbed portions of the two 
midribs is next effected in one of at least four methods, which, from 
their resulting appearance, may be described as the diamond (B), 
claw (C), bar (D), and spiral (E). The feathers being fixed back 
to back, when looked at from the sides, the surface of one is convex 
and that of the other concave. The material for tying is cotton or 
kuraua. The progressive construction of the claw is shown m F; 
that of the bar and the spiral can present no difficulties; the dia- 
mond, where the use of cotton is invariable, is shown in plate 20. 
Once the vane portions of the feathers have been fixed on one or 
other of the above lines, the two halves into which the free bases of 
their midribs have been split are crossed at a very open angle, and 
in that position spread upon the convexity of the arrow shaft 
(pi. 19 D), and so fixed in position by overcasting. 

84. The cultivation of artificially colored feathers seems to have 
been an old practice in the western Guianas and beyond. Von 
Humboldt gives the earliest record of it from the upper Orinoco 
when he speaks of a frog . . . allied to the Rana tinctoria, the blood 
of which, it is asserted, introduced into the skin of a parrot, in 
places where the feathers have been plucked out, occasions the 
growth of frizzled feathers of a yellow or red color (AVH, ii, 313). 
Similarly, Wallace, among the Uaupes River Indians, described 
how the colors of certain birds' feathers were altered for the 
decoration of the acangatara or headdress. The feathers, he says, 
are entirely from the shoulders of the great red macaw; but they 
are not those that the bird naturally possesses, for these Indians 
have a curious art by which they change the colors of the feathers 
of many birds. They pluck out those which they wish to paint, 
and inoculate the fresh wound with the milky secretion from the 
skin of a small frog or toad. When the feathers grow again they 
are of a brilliant yellow or orange color, without any mixture of 
blue or green, as in the natural state of the bird; and on the new 
plumage being again plucked out it is said always to come of the 
same color, without any further operation. The feathers are 
renewed slowly, and it requires a great number of them to make a 
coronet (ARW, 202). Wallace's observations are confirmed by 


those of Koch-Griinberg, for the River Aiary (upper Rio Negro) 
Indians of the present day pull from the tame red macaws the green 
feathers at the base of the wings and smear the wounds with the 
fat of the pirarara fish, or of a certain toad. The new feathers 
become beautifully orange-yellow and retain this color, even if 
several times changed, as they are pulled out from time to time, 
for purposes of dance decorations (KG, i, 84). Im Thurn was told by 
the Makusi that when the natural feathers are pulled out the place 
from which they are pulled is rubbed with faroah, the red dye obtained 
from Bixa . . . The bird is also made to drink water in 
which more faroah has been steeped, after which it is left for some 
months ... at the end of which time new yellow feathers have grown 
in the place of the abstracted green ones (Ti, June, 1882, p. 28). 
According to Crevaux, the bird was made to eat certain fat. His obser- 
vations were taken on the Inirida, a branch of the Guaviare (upper Ori- 
noco). Thus, as he reports, the Puinabo possess the secret of color- 
ing parrots yellow. They make them eat the fat of cajaro, a fish very 
common in the Guaviare . . . This fat is yellow. The parrot's feath- 
ers first become spotted with yellow, and end by taking this color 
entirely (Cr, 532) . The Pomeroon Indians at the present time maintain 
that certain of the green parrots, if fed with yolk of egg, will change 
their feathers to a yellow color. The Indians on the banks of the 
Oyapock [Cayenne] have found the way artificially to engraft, if we 
may call it, a new plumage upon their parrots, of natm-al colours, 
though different from those they had originally received from nature. 
This they do by pulling some of their feathers, and rubbing the part 
with the blood of certain frogs, which is called in Cayenne "orna- 
menting a parrot." Perhaps the whole secret consists in bathing 
the part pulled with some sharp liquor, or, perhaps, there is no need 
of any preparation, and it is an experiment yet to be made. In effect 
it does not seem a whit more extraordinary to see red or yellow feathers 
grow upon a bird, instead of green that have been plucked from it, 
than to see white hairs grow upon the back of a horse that has been 
hurt, in the room of black which were there before (LCo, 87). In 
connection with this question of artificial feather coloration, the fol- 
lowing remarks of J. J. Quelch will prove of interest: "A change, 
produced by artificial means, in the coloration of birds, and to which 
I can find no reference in any published volume, seems to be more or 
less commonly practiced by bird-stuffers in the colony — I refer to 
the change of the natiu-al purple tints in the colors of the cotingas, 
the purple being changed to a lively I'ed by the application of heat in 
each case to the feathers of the dead bird. It seems possible that this 
change can also be produced in the feathers of the living bird, but I 
have not been able to obtain any satisfactory information on this 
point." (Ti, June, 1887, p. 142.) 

Chaptek VII 

Gold (85); silver (86); leather (87); bark (88). 

85. Gold was worked on the islands as well as on the Guiana main- 
land; silver was worked in the latter, but only to a comparatively 
small degree. It appears to me, writes Chanca in his narrative of the 
second voyage of Columbus, that these people [Santo Domingo] put 
more value upon copper than gold. They beat the gold they find into 
very thin plates in order to make masks of it, and then set it in a 
cement which they prepare for that purpose. Other ornaments they 
also make of the gold, which they wear on the head and hanging from 
their ears and nostrils; and for this object it is equally required that 
the gold should be in the shape of a thin plate. But it is not the cost- 
liness of the gold that they value in their ornaments; it is its showy 
appearance (DAC, 450-451). The apparent preference by Island 
Carib of copper for gold, especially in the form of caracolis, is con- 
firmed by not a few authors (sec. 751). Such copper ornaments were 
obtamed from the Spaniards, the price for one of them being a negro 
(PBR, 247), as well as from among the booty ammally plimdered 
from the Arawak (RO, 446). So, on the mainland, thin plates of 
gold in the shape of half moons or crescents were worn hanging from 
the ears (sec. 506) and nostrils (sec. 505), and larger ones on the chest 
(sec. 537). Gumilla speaks of Carib in the neighborhood of the 
Orinoco wearing half-moon shaped plates of gold as decorations, 
etc.; and Alex, von Humboldt says that up to 1760 the independent 
Carib had gone to the Pakaraima Ranges (Cerro de Pacaraymo) to 
collect gold dust in their drinking cups and sell it to the Dutch on 
the Essequibp. The Carib of the Essequibo, Caroni, and Cuyuni 
know how to wash it (SR, ii, 432). The natives of the Orinoco had a 
name in their languages for gold— carucum in Carib, caricuri in 
Tamanac, cavitta in Maypure (AVH, ii, 382). In British Guiana we 
find the Arekuna and Makusi using the term caricuru, also caruciiri 
(App, n, 597). On the islands, the word is recognized again as 
caracoH (sec. 751). The following excerpt is taken from the "Table 
of Rivers, etc., of Guiana, Hakluyt's Voyages, vol. 3": "This river 
[the Corentyn], as also most of the others, is not navigable above 
six days' jom-ney by reason of rocks. . . . Some images of 
gold, spleen stones, and others, may be gotten on this coast, but 
they do somewhat extraordinarily esteem them, because every- 
where they are current money. They get their moons and other 
pieces of gold by exchange, taking for each one of their greater 



canoes one piece or image of gold, with three heads; and after that 
rate for their lesser canoes they receive pieces of gold of less value" 
(Ti, Dec. 1887, p. 351) . We have the following record from .Surinam : 
"A Yaio, an ancient man who came down from the head of the River 
Selinama [Surinam] . . . showed me before his departure from me a 
piece of metall fashioned like an Eagle and as I guesse, it was about 
the weight of eight or nine ounces troy weight, it seemed to be Gold 
or at leastwise two parts Gold and one Copper. I offered him an axe 
which he refused, to which I added foure knives, but could not get 
it of him. ... I demanded where hee had that Eagle, his answer 
was, hee had it of his uncle who dwelt among the Weearaapoyhs in 
the Countrie called Sherumerimary neere the Cassipagotos Countrie 
where is great store of these Images. Further he said,^that at the 
head of the Selinama and Marwin there were great store of the Halfe- 
Moones which he called by the name of Unnaton" (Ano, 405-409). 
An early account of gold is given by Harcom-t from Cayenne: "As 
I daily conversed amongst the Indians [at Rio Oyapock] it chanced 
one day that one of them presented me with a halfe Moone of metall 
which held somewhat more than a third part Gold, the rest Copper: 
another also gave me a little Image of the same Metall, and of another 
I bought a plate of the same (which he called a spread Eagle) for an 
axe. All which things they assured mee were made in the high 
countrey of Guiana, which they said did abound with Images of 
Gold, by them called Carrecoory" (HR, 387). The Nolague, who 
lived at the head of the Approuague, were celebrated for their brace- 
lets and collars of massive gold (Cou, x, 146). 

It would be interestmg if it could be shown that the moons or images 
of gold with three heads mentioned above refer to the shape of 
crescent seen in the silver earrings of the Arekima, etc. (pi. 147 C), 
that is, two "horns" and a central boss. 

86. As already mentioned, silver was worked to a very small degree 
in the Guianas, as compared with the richer metal. Indeed, the 
following is the only reference to it that I have so far discovered in the 
literatm-e, from the Orinoco Indians : " Those who can afford it 
[adorn their ears and nostrils] with little thin plates of silver or gold 
which they themselves fashion after their style (laboran a su modo) " 
(G, I, 124). vSuch ornaments are described and figured elsewhere 
(sees. 505, 506) . Strange as it may seem, I can find no native name 
for silver, the term prata used by the Indians being, of course, cor- 
rupted from the Spanish, and yet it would appear that the metal 
must have been known to them. At Koumaka, Serima Creek, 
Essequibo River, "One of the natives retui-ned . . . with a lump 
of silver clay in his hand which he informed us was the produce of a 
spring about three hours' distant in the woods. We found it strongly 
impregnated with that ore" (StC, ii, 136). So, also, at Fort St. 


Joaquim, on the Takutu River, the commandant reported that the 
Indians from the upper Rio Branco had brought him specimens of 
silver at different times (ScG, 255) . 

87. Among the contributions transmitted from British Guiana to 
the London International Exhibition of 1862 was a series of barks 
used in tanning, collected by W. C. McClintock, Pomeroon River. 
About 35 of these, with their Creole and native names, are mentioned, 
together with an explanatory note that these barks are all used in 
tanning by the Indians [Arawak and Carib], but the amoimt of tan- 
nin contained in them is very various, and some of them contain but 
a very small quantity (CC, 27). In view, however, of the fact that, 
except in the case of drums, coverlids of some of the quivers, and cer- 
tain obsolete Orinoco fighting shields made from manati hide (G, i, 
289), native Indian leather work is conspicuous by its absence, I 
can only conclude that the statement that all the above-mentioned 
batks were utilized by the Indians must be an error. 

88. Not having had opportunities of observing or learning the 
methods of preparing the bark in the manufactiire of laps (sec. 547), 
masked dresses and shirts, (sec. 539), mats (sec. 401), dusters (sec. 
275), etc., it would be useless to do more than mention the existence 
of such a material here. Penard speaks of laps made from the 
pounded bast of the Manbarakrak (Lecyfhis ollaria) among the 
Carib (PEN, i, 95). Bark strips, without being apparently sub- 
jected to any preliminary treatment, are utilized as binding ropes, 
basket straps, and as the basis for certain circular hanging trays 
(sec. 411). 

Chapter \1II 

Choice of clay (89); mixed with certain ingredients (90). 

Manufacture of the vessel (91); firing (92); luster and glaze (93); painting and 

patterns (94). 
Protection against damage, etc. (95). 
Modern figured pottery (96). 
Old-time pottery: Figured (97, 98); other objects (99). 

89. The whole subject of pottery in its different stages and relations 
requires a great deal further investigation, and, indeed, the sooner 
the better, for with the introduction of cheap tinware the art is 
becoming rapiiUy degenerate and lost. 

There would seem to be variations in the quality of the clay for 
which the potter has a predilection, but nothing is definitely known 
of their exact nature. Although suitable clay is to be fotmd in almost 
all the small streams of the coastal region, there are some particular 
localities where it is considered to be especially good. To such 
belongs a small MU on the left bank of the mouth of the Cuyuni, 
whence Indians come from loiig distances to obtain their require- 
ments (SR, I, 261). Hilhouse also speaks of the Cuyuni being crossed 
by large veins of clay, which the Indians travel great distances to 
secm'e for the manufacture of their cooking utensils, on account of 
its superior fireproof quality and its milky tinge (HiB, 321). 
Although the clay from the Pomeroon River may be of poor quality 
(IT, 275) it is nevertheless good enough for the present-day Carib 
from the upper reaches of the Moruca, who paddles across the 
intervening stretch of sea to secure it. 

90. According to various authors, clay was mixed with certain 
other ingretUents before it was manufactured, but the reasons for 
the mixing, even when fm'nished, would seem to be neither imiform 
nor satisfactory. If the bark of a certain tree, called by the Arawak 
kawta {Artocarpus'i), burned and ground to powder is mixed with 
the clay it makes the vessels quite black (IT, 277). On the upper 
Rio Negro, Wallace (ARW, 342) and Koch-Grunberg note the mix- 
tm'e of the clay with ashes of caripe or caraipe bark, the latter 
stating that it renders the clay more adhesive (KG, ii, 24). In 
Stu-mam it is mLxed with ashes of the kweepi [caripe] bark (FE, 61) 
to give it a yellowish red color when baked (WJ, 88). Elsewhere, 
in making their goblets for keeping water, the women take care to 
add the ashes of a bark called couepi [caripe], which renders the clay 
more porous, so favoring coolness by evaporation (Cr, 193). On the 





Guaviare River the mixing of the clay with the cinders of mingala 
bark evidentl}' promotes glazing (Ci-, 507). At the head of the 
Barama River this [potter's] clay has a grayish color and is mixed 
with the loose materials of decomposing granite (ScB, 189). 

91. The following description of the manufacture of a clay vessel is 
taken at fii'st hand from what I have observed among the Carib old 
women of the upper Mauawarin, a branch of the Moruca River. 
The weU-known ' ' buck-pot " ' is being made. The clay, already broken 
out of the ground with a thick, heavy, pointed stick, is cleaned of 
all dirt and foreign particles, and dm-ing this cleaning process is 
mashed with the hands, but without water. In this condition it may 
be left for years, if necessary, before being worked up, but it gradually 


Fig. 31.— Diagram to show method of constniction of buck pot . 

becomes harder. To be worked up it is now pounded and mixed 
with water, and, taking up lump after lump it is rolled with the flat 
of the hand, on a board, into a coil about 14 niches long and five- 
eighths of an inch thick. These coils, a dozen or so, are placed by 
the potter at her side. She then takes another Ivunp of clay, presses 
and squeezes it between her hands, and makes a circular pat of it 
in the center of the board. The edges of this slab are everted so that 
in section it has the appearance represented in figure 31 A. A coil 
is now taken and placed around and inside of the everted edge of the 
preceding, both coil and edge being squeezed together at close 
intervals with the left thmnb and forefinger on its passage romid. 
If, as is usually the case, the coil happens to be longer than the 
circuit, it is pinched and pulled off. The vessel is thus built up, not 


of one continuous coil, but of several, each succeeding one adding to 
its height. More than this, the effect of the squeezing is not only to 
make adjacent coils cohere, but also to "lock" them, the upper 
level of each coil, as an effect of the procedure, being lower on the 
inside than on the outside (B). Wlien a height of about 3^ to 
4 inches has been reached in the making of the pot, a simidta- 
neous shaping, thinning, and smoothing takes place; the more or 
less irregularly sloping walls have to be pressed in here or pressed 
out there to obtain the necessary contom*, at the same time that 
the component coils have to be squeezed more and more together 
to obliterate the lines of junction, while their composite surfaces 
inside and out must be smoothed into one harmonious whole. 
This is all effected by means of the open hand pressing against 
the inner wall. At the same time a smooth, spoon-shaped piece of 
calabash is made to exert with its convex side an equal pres- 
sure on the corresponding outer wall (C). This process is now re- 
versed, the hand being pressed on the outer wall and the calabash 
on the inner. In section the result woidd be something like D. 
Three or four more coils are now added and treated with one 
another in similar fashion as regards shaping, thinning, and smooth- 
mg, but on this occasion the vessel instead of being widened is 
narrowed (E). When the required height of the body of the pot 
has been reached, the upper edge is neatly trimmed with a sharp 
knife from the outside. This knife is held more or less horizontally, 
cuts toward the operator, its tip is more or less guided by her free 
hand held over the inside of the vessel, and is moistened with water. 
This trimmed edge is now everted, the next coil added to it on the 
outside, but the immediately succeeding and final one is placed on 
the inside (F). These two coils constitute the neck and are shaped, 
thinned, and smoothed as were the previous ones, while the line of 
demarcation between neck and body is guided by means of the 
straight edge of a little slip of wood about 4 inches long. The top 
is trimmed off with a knife, its edges smoothed over and gradually 
everted (G, H) to make a slight lip. This knife would seem to have 
replaced the piece of calabash shell that is said to have been formerly 
used. A piece would be carefully cut from one side of the shell, 
so that the space left exactly corresponded with the intended lip of 
the vessel. By means of tliis nick the shell was then fitted onto the 
edge of the vessel and so passed around its circumference (IT, 276). 
A day later, when the clay is a bit drier, the various roughnesses of 
the surface, especially on the edges of the base, are sliced off with a 
sharp knife or shell edge, and a smooth, reddish pebble, obtained by 
barter and upon which great store seems to be placed, is used for 
polishing. The stone has been described as a cornelian (BE, 7), a 
red jasper (AK, 67), a porphyry, or celt. The vessel has to be 


fii'ed ^Nathiii from three to six days from completion. The goblets, 
dishes, saucere, and otlier nonfigured modern pottery are manu- 
factured on practically identical lines and are discussed under 
Domestic Requisites (sees. 389-391). 

92. For firing, an excavation is made in the ground, the vessel 
inserted, a pyramid of dry wood placed on top and then set fire to, 
keeping this up until the article is burned. The necessary amount 
of burning is determined by the sound emitted upon tapping the 
pot with a little stick (SR, i, 262). 

93. With regard to glazing, etc., Schomburgk is responsible for 
the statement that the Indians employ oxide of manganese to give 
luster to their native pottery (ScD, 93), but unfortunately omits 
to mention the method of use. The same authority speaks of the 
Warrau drying their pottery in the sun and smearing it with a 
varnish prepared from the soot of old pots mixed with the sticky 
sap of a mimosa (SR, i, 169). Koch-Griinberg speaks of the polish- 
ing of the pots with the resin or milk of the cuma tree (KG, ii, 22S), 
and some of the Carib are said to have the knack of producing a fine 
glaze on the vessel by the application of certain juices (PEN, 128), 
while Kappler, in Surinam, speaks of smearing with a sort of copal 
varnish (AK, 175-176). This last statement is somewhat inter- 
esting, in that Humboldt mentions the same material (Hymenma 
covrharil) as used among the Maypure of the Orinoco for covering 
over the paint work on their pottery (AVH, ii, 309). 

94. Pottery may be stained black with the juice of some particular 
herbs (BA, 278) or with the soot from used pots mixed with the 
slimy gumlike sap of the Inga (SR, i, 262), as I have observed for 
myself on the Pomeroon. In other cases a pattern may be painted 
on the article with the same material or with genipa, as in Surinam 
(WJ, 88). I have seen it fixed with a second firing. When a red 
pigment is emploj^ed it is obtained from the Bixa orellana or the 
Bignonea chica (SR, i, 262) or from the Bellucia auhletii. A white 
paint may also be used (WJ, 88), while Kappler speaks of painting 
with the juice of a beetle which gives a brown color (AK, 175-176). 
So far as the Pomeroon Carib patterns are concerned — -absent only, 
as is the case generally elsewhere, on the very large water and 
paiwarri jars and the "buck" pots — they would seem to be, with 
one exception, more or less conventional and arbitrary, it being 
very rare to find any two alike. Thus on a goblet I have seen such 
varymg patterns as a hog-tooth necklace, a snake, a turtle shell 
and eggs, an earthworm, and many other figures which even by the 
potter herself were not intended to represent anything. The one 
exception is the scorpion tail, which seems to be typical of Carib 
manufacture (WER, vi, sec. 240). Among composite forms is the 
mythical snake and tree of the same tribe (WER, vi, sec. 235). 
[For more advanced designs, coloration, etc., see section 391.] 



[eth. a:;n. 38 

95. To strengthen the larger cassiri and other jars, or rather to 
lessen the force of impact under stress of blow or upset and also for 
purposes of transport, they may be covered (pi. 21 A, B) with open 
basketry (sec. 449). It is inconceivable, as has been alleged 
(KG, I, 67), that such a covering could prevent the bursting of the 
vessel under pressure arising from the fermentation of its contents. 

96. Modern figured pottery. I feel very much inclined to the 
opinion that the present-day manufacture of clay figurines by certain 

of the Carib, notably in 
Surinam, is due both to a 
development of the plastic 
decorative treatment of the 
M^ater jars and other vessels 
in the times of long ago, and 
in large measure to Euro- 
pean influences. Tlie com- 
paratively high artistic 
taste displayed would thus 

Fig. 32.— Old-time bowl with flgiirine handles. . i i ir 

(Georgetown Museum.) "1 a seuse be accomitedlor, 

while the time, labor, and patience expended on the manufacture of ob- 
jects for which the makers themselves have no use would certainly not 
warrant the Indians modeling them for any other purpose than that 
of trade. In the catalogue of contributions transmitted from British 
Guiana to the London International Exhibition of 1862 there is a 
record (p. 52) of "Figures of clay, made by an Indian of the Cara- 
bisi tribe, and representing human beings and an armadillo," together 
with a note that they were the only 
specimens of Indian plastic art ever 
seen by the contributors. I have 
obtained children's clay whistles 
(sec. 56S) and rattles (sec. 620) in 
the shape of frogs and turtles made 
by theMoruca River Carib, but they 
are in no sense comparable with 
what the Surinam Carib are capable 
of doing (pi. 22 A, B). Joest de- 
scribes and figures a duck and its variations (WJ, pi. ii, figs, a, b, c) 
from the Maroni; I have secured an alUgator (pi. 22 C) and a plate 
(pi. 22 D) from the same district. 

97. Of old-time pottery there seems to be comparatively little 
recorded, and this mainly from the islands (e. g., JWF, vi); but 
in the middens and shell mounds (sec. 773) along the coast line of 
our own colony, and farther eastward, there have been unearthed 
from time to time various grotesque heads and figurines (pis. 23-26) , a 
few effigy vessels, and other objects. The first mentioned, by far the 

Fig. 33.— Side view of figure 32. 



A, II, Modem pottory figiiriiies. made by the Surinam Tarib. C, jroficni fli;iiriiie pottpry: 
Alligator. From the Maroiii Eiver district. D, Modem plate obtained from the same Indians 
as the preceding. 




I'roiii the British Cuiana Coastal Kegion. (licorgi-'lowii Mlisuinii.) 




From the British Guiana Coastal Iteyiou. (Georgetown Museum.) 




From tile BriUsh Guiana Coastal Region. (Georgetown Muocluu.) 



From the British Guiaha Coastal Region. (Georgetown Museum.) 




From the liiaziliau-Uuiaaa Coastal Region. (After Uoeldi.) 




Fig. 34. — Base of four-legged effigy vessel shown in pi. 31. 

commonest, show signs, in the large majority of cases, of having been 

broken off from what by analogy were probably bowls, vases, or jars, 

of which some of them constituted the handles.* But it is indeed 

unfortimate that the finders 

of these archeological objects 

should have almost invaria- 
bly discarded the nonorna- 

mental fragments, with the 

result that their true and 

exact relations can be only 

conjectured. The only such 

complete bowl, with but one 

handle, however, that has 

been recovered from the area 

mentioned is represented in 

figm-es 32 and 33. 

98. Whereas, in the series 

just described, the figurine 

is part of the bowl, vase, or 

jar, there is another group 

distinguishable by the figure 

itself constituting the article which is now known as an effigy 

bowl, etc. The imderground burial caves (sec. 836) at Counany 

on the Brazilian-Guiana coast line have supplied us with some 

extremely mteresting tyj^es of old-time 
pottery articles, certain of which show 
transitional forms between true effigy 
vessels and plain wide-mouth jars (pis. 
27, 28) similar to those obtained, within 
recent years, more to the westward (pi. 
30 A, B). Effigy vessels, fragmentary 
(pi. 32 A) and complete, have also been 
obtained from our own colony. Among 
the latter is a very curious composition 
(pi. 31 A) with an extra head (pi. 31 B) 
modeled on a four-legged base 'fig. 34). 
Other specimens of this effigy series in- 
clude certain forms (pi. 32 B, C) which, 
from analogy, I am inclined to regard 
as chDdren's rattles (fig. 35). 

99. To be included among remain- 
ing objects of old-time nonfignred pot- 
tery are various bowls (pi. 33 C), vessels 

with plain handles (pi. 33 A), portions of griddles (sec. 362), and 

' There are records of the handles of the burial urns of the Piaroa of the Orinoco being made in the 
shape of crocodiles or serpents (sec. 852) . See description of complete specimen by C. Cooksey in Timehri, 
September, 1919. 

Fig. 35.— Pottery efflgy; probably a child s 
rattle. (Georgetown Museum.) 


fragments of various kinds that have from time to time been unearthed 
along the Demerara coast Hne.^ 

In the Georgetown Museum is a so-called "pottery stamper" from 
the Grenadines (pi. 33 B). Fewkes has illustrated an identical one 
from Trinidad (JWF, iv, 215). 

* There is no reason for doubting that with proper search the present limits of discovery would be found 
extending through Surinam int o Cayenne. As a matter of fact , no scientific examination has been made 
of the middens and shell mounds already known to exist in British Guiana, and it is to be hoped that official 
steps may be taken with a ^w to their proper preservation and study, and to prevent them being any 
further exploited and damaged by money-grabbing curio-hunters. 




From the Braziliau-Guiiina Coastal Region. (After Goeldi.; 




From Uie Bra^iluui-Giiiaim Coastal Kegion. (After Goeldi.j 



(Coorgetowii Museum.) 



(Goorgctowii Museum.) 



;' *■ ^vpjMh 




* 'Ag^ 






ffHi|'_ ^^ 






(Georgetown Mus^'Luu.) 






^^^HE!Ii " 



IBd^^' ' 










._ - 



.4, Plain liandkd jug; -B, so-called "stampL'i"; C, bonis. (All in Ueorgctown Museum. ) 

Chapter IX 


Materials employed (100): The preparation of itiriti (101); mamnri (102); 

awarra and akko-yuro (103) : kamwarrl (104). 
Forms of weaving followed (105-114). 
Waterproof basketry (115). 

100. Of the materials used in basketry, perhaps the commonest 
are the itiriti and nu'ikni. the mamuri. the awarra, and akko-yuro. 
The itiriti and mukru are species of Ischnosipho'n, known locally as 
moroca and manna (Mak.), warimba, or warimbo (St, i, 397), ma- 
ranta, etc.; the mamuri is a "bush rope," a Carludomca^ known as 
tibid to the Wapishana; the awarra and akko-yuro are "pimpler" 
palms, the Astrocaryum tucumoides and A. tucum, respectivel}'. 
Another pimpler creeper palm that is not infrequently used is the 
kamwarri, a species of Desmoncus (sec. 72). A species of Mero- 
sfachys is employed on the upper Rio Branco (EU, 291). Besides 
these, there is the fibrous root of the Poffws TnacrophijUa Schw. 
{Antkurium 7wt,crophyJlum Sw.). which was used by the Indians 
to make baskets (CC, 12). Schomburgk found an Arawak chief 
on Canje Creek making baskets from the slender branches of a 
species of bignonia (ScA, 348) ; a certain tribe on the Brazilian bor- 
ders of our colony make their pegalls of the leaves of the Orhigigjiia 
palm (IT, 282) ; the pegalls of the Oyampi in Cayenne are manufac- 
tured from the bark of Strommithe sa/iguinea (Cr, 202), etc. For 
temporary basketry, the ite, manicol, and kokerit leaves are very com- 
monlj- used (sees. 453-457). 

101. The process of preparing and splitting the itiriti into the 
requisite strands for plaiting has been described as follows: The 
stems of this reed, reaching to a length of 9 or 10 feet, can be 
used immediately after cutting, but may keep for a couple of weeks or 
more, provided they are in a cool shade ; exposure to the sun dries up 
and spoils them. When required for use the stem is first scraped of 
its outer green cortex, and then may be stained with certain black, 
red, or other dyes (e. g., fnga, Bellueia) ; the outer green cortex may, 
however, be left on the strand in the manufacture of cassava 
squeezers for Indian domestic use, and of crab quakes (i. e., baskets 
for carrying crabs). After nicking a ring about one-half inch from 
its extremity, the stem is split down crosswise— the four primary 

60160°— 24 10 137 



[ETH. AXN. 38 

splits — to a depth of 7 or 8 inches, and the pith more or less removed 
from below up. and each quadrant divided again by secondary splits 
(fig. 36 A, a.b,c). After removing some more pith {d.c). the four 
primary splits are extended throughout the length of the stem by 
gradually and carefully separating them with the hands held later- 
ally (B). The secondary split in eacli quadrant is next extended in 
similar fashion, with the result tliat. from each itiriti eight strands 

i C rf P c 6 

Fig. 36. — Preparation of itiriti (i-E) and mamuri (F) strands. 

are derived. If aii unusually large stem, tlie Warrau, as well as 
the Arawak, occasionally may split each quadrant into three, so as 
to derive 12 instead of 8 strands, but under these circumstances they 
are said never to split evenly, and the procedure is not orthodox. 
Where the circular nick has been made in each of these eight strands, 
the knife (C) slices downward in such a way as to separate an outer 
from an inner (more pithy) portion, which portions are next split 
apart by using the inner side of the nail of the left forefinger as a 
wedge, and gradually but firmly pulling on the inner of the two por- 
tions with the right hand (D). The nail of an expert basket maker is 


thus often observed to be chronically damaged. The outer strand is 
finished ready for use by scraping its edges, not its surface, firmly and 
slowly over a knife blade (E) until the required width is produced, 
and in its finished state is called itiriti dabusha (i. e., scraped, 
cleaned) (WEE, ii). 

102. The preliminary treatment of the mamuri is a much simpler 
process. Suitable lengths of the aerial stems having been cut. they 
are soaked in water for as long as three weeks. At the end of this 
period the outer bark is scraped oil with a knife and the stem split, 
according to its size, into two, three, or four portions, which are 
plano-convex in section (fig. 36 F).' The remaining innermost por- 
tions of the stem can also be split again for use. but such strips are 
not so strong as those first removed (WER, ii). 

103. The preparation of the awarra and akko-yuro leaf for plait- 
ing purjioses is practically identical and ma}' be described as follows: 
The unopened leaf is cut off and the septa pulled away from above 
down one by one. Each septum is stuck in its long axis at about the 
middle with a knife blade, which is then run up to the apex, the basal 
part of the septum being split by separating with the hands. The 
strands so formed shrink considerably, and hence can only be satis- 
factorily worked in the early morning while the atmosphere is still 
damp. If plaited when too dry they slip one from the other. For 
similar reasons the unopened leaf, once removed from the tree, can be 
kept for only a few days, and then in the cool shade. Each strand is. 
of course, not of uniform width, but diminishes from butt (proximal) 
to apex (distal). Used for making fans. etc. 

104. Very much after the same treatment as the mamuri, a suitable 
length of kamwarri vine is cut, its ^' pimplers " removed, and if not 
to be used fortliwith is kept in water to prevent it becoming too 
hard to manipulate. The outer bark is scraped off and the stem split 
into convenient sizes; but of each piece so split only the outermost 
laj'er is preserved, scraped, and cleaned, usually by pulling it over 
and across the thigh under the edge of a knife blade firmly pressed 
into position. 

105. As to the form of weaving followed in Guiana basketiy and 
plaitwork, the following varieties are met with, about half of them 
defined as nearly as possible along the lines given in the Handbook 
of American Indians, Part I, page 133. 

106. Checker. — " The warjj and weft pass over and under one an- 
other singly, and are indistinguishable " [as a rule ; but in the sides 
of the Malaisi baskets (sec. 430), the rims of certain Arawak trays 
(sec. 405), and in a few other cases they are distinguishable]. In the 
square mats of the Aiary (sec. 395), certain pegalls (sec. 430) of 



lETH. ANN. 38 



^— r 


l,_ 1 

1 i 




1 1 









1 III 1 

1 1 1 




I I I I 


I I II] 


37. — Forms 
(4-B) and 

of weaving — checker 
•wicker (F-H). 

the Makusi (fig. 37 A), sifters (sec. 
359) of the Siusi (fig. 37 B) , the belly 
baskets (sec. 439) of the Arekuna 
(fig. 37 C), the edging of the Arawak, 
etc. (sec. 405), trays (fig. 37 D). 
the interspaces between individual 
warps and wefts may be verj^ patent, 
and due to purpose, as in the case of 
sifters, or to methods of construction, 
as in the belly baskets. In this 
checker variety must be included the 
method of weaving adopted in the 
foundation of certain Patamona 
baskets (sec. 416), where a pair of 
strands replaces each single element 
of the type specimen (fig. 37 E). 
In this case the very thickness of the 
strands prevents close apposition. 

107. Wicker. — " The warp of one 
larger or two or more smaller ele- 
ments is inflexible, and the bending is 
done in the weft." In Patamona, etc. 
( sec. 417 ) blowgun cotton baskets ( fig. 37 F ) , Arawak and Makusi arma- 
dillo pattern pegalls (sec. 431), and certain of the knapsacks (fig. 
37 G, H). 

108. Tivilled.—"' Each element of 
the weft passes over and then under 
two (fig. 38 A, B, C) or more (D, 
E) warp elements"; in Guiana 
twilled basketry the warp and weft 
would appear to be sometimes in- 
distinguishable. In the "Wapishana 
knapsack covers, Patamona and 
Akawai trays (A), Arawak, etc., 
sifters (B), belly baskets (C), and 
trays (D), Carib mats (E), etc., as 
in the checkerwork, the presence or 
absence of interspaces is purposeful 
or accidental. Place will perhaps 
have to be found here for the Ma- 
kusi farine sifter (sec. 358), pre- 
sumably commenced as twilled work 
(each weft element passing over 
and then under three warp ele- 
ments) , with every alternate vertical ^ ,„ ,=. p * ■■■ ^ 

^ ' *' Fig. 38. — Forms of weaving — twilled. 




Fig. 39. — Forms of weaving — hoxag- 
onal (A-G) and pentagonal (H). 

and horizontal pair of strands re- 
moved (F), and the diagonals subse- 
quently added ( G , H ) . It is only f a ir 
to state that I have not had the op- 
portunity of watching its manufacture. 

109. Hexagonal. — The weft passes 
alternately over a strand of one and 
under a strand of another of two 
series of warp elements crossed diag- 
onally. The initial key to the struc- 
ture of such a piece of basketry is a 
hexagon (fig. 39 A, B), which may 
be subsequently filled in with second- 
ary weft (C) and warp strands (D, 
E). (For illustrations see sees. 412- 
415.) There is a somewhat unusual 
duplicate hexagonal plait work (F) 
recorded from Surinam (GOE, pi. 

IX, fig. 12), and a triplicate one (G), 
apparently from our own colony .on 
a knapsack (fig. 188). 

110. Peniagonal. — During the course 
of manufacture of tlie walls of certain 
baskets (sees. 414, 422, 425), but never as an initial stage in basket 
manufacture, the mesh becomes a pentagon (fig. 39 H). It is formed 
by weft locking quadrilaterals formed of overlapping wai-p strands. 

111. Crossed quadrilateral. — The initial key is a 
figure consisting of two series of strands crossed at 
right angles and held in position by two strands, also 
crossed at right angles, intersecting them diagonally 
(fig. 40 A). The weft passes alteniately over two 
crossed and then under a single vertical warp 
strand (B). A secondary weft or wefts may be 
subsequently interpolated (C). In the square open- 
work IMakusi baskets (sec. 429) and certain "Wapi- 
shana and Makusi knapsacks (sec. 451). 

112. Twined. — " Tlie warp is not bent and the weft 
is made up of two or more elements, one of them 
passing behind each warp element (one or more) as 
the weaving progresses" (fig. 41 A). I have else- 
where (sec. 466) described this as a chain twist. In 
certain Kio Negro and other baskets (sec. 416). 

113. Wrapped. — " The warp is not flexed, and the 
Fig. 40.— Forms of weft iu passing a warp element is wrapjsed once 

ruTd'JIlaterT'*^ around it" (fig. 41 B)-a process employed in fin- 




[r-TH. ANN. 38 


ishing the edges of many baskets in fish creels (sec. 421) and Makusi 
fish cages (sec. 206). 

114. Locked or vmhrlcate. — The warp is liere flexed, each complete 
flexure enclosing either two wefts (fig. 41 C). two wefts and two 
warp elements (D), or two warp elements and one weft (E). Ex- 
amples of the first are met with in the band of many of the feather 
crowns (sec. 520) ; that of the second in the diaphragmatic loop 
baskets (sees. 419, 420). The third pattern, seen in the rims of 
)iian_y of the crowns (sec. 520), is extremely interesting in that the 
itiriti strands entering into its composition are not worked on the 

flat, but on their edges, with the I'e- 
sult that the thickness of the com- 
pleted textile is that of the width of 
the strand. Its general appearance 
in situ, prior to being stretched out 
for explanatory purposes to render 
its construction intelligible, is repre- 
sented in the sketch F. G is a locked 
pattern taken from de Goeje's work 
(QOE, pi. IX, fig. 13), from the rim 
of a Surinam Indian feather hat, 
and is perhaps identical with the net 
basket for crabs of the Aiary Eiver 
Mk>^l<^^ J. (sec. 220) ; it should be compared 

•"-^^^-^^i^ _,.,,..,g 3^ . , _^ with H, that of a chain-pattern fish 
^i^>^r-^^p^ ft. ~5 net (sec. 201), an unknown type of 

Guiana basket weaving, but one 
through which it apparently must 
have passed in .the course of its 

115. All varieties of basketry, 
from the openwork to the close- 
work, can be rendered practically 
waterproof with the help of leaves or pitch. Thus with' the dextrous 
use of leaves the large openwork f arine baskets on the hinterland bor- 
ders of our colony can be, and often are, packed with provisions, such 
as salt, meal, etc., for which Euroj^eans would require a bottle or box. 
This is effected h\ lining them with the broad oval leaves of the itiriti 
{Ischnosiphon). The bottom of the basket having been lined with a 
single layer of leaves placed in beautifully regular order, a line of the 
leaves is placed, stalk downward, against the sides of the baskets. 
Enough f arine (coarse cassava meal) or salt is then poured in to reach 
nearly to the top of the first line of leaves. The lining is then carried 
up higher, one more row of leaves being added, their stems secured in 

Fig. 41. — Forms of weaving — twined 
(A), wrapped (B), locked or im- 
bricate iC-G). 


the farine. More farine is poured in and the processes are continued 
until the basket is full. A covering of leaves is then added and tied 
down. In this way the contents of tlie basket are entirely guarded 
against all damp (IT, 282)'. Again, each pegall (sec. 433) basket and 
lid may be made double and itiriti leaves inserted between the two 
layers of each to render them waterpi-oof . This is the case in the Pom- 
eroon area, though in Surinam the leaves of the truli were said to be 
employed (St, i, 397; WJ, 90). But whatever the kind of leaf so 
inserted the resultant effect would help to explain the statement of 
St. Clair, as well as of others, that the strands were " put together 
in so close a manner that they will hold water " (StC, i, 337). In the 
first description of the Amazons that has come down to us by Acuiia 
mention is made of liquors being kept ... in baskets made of rushes, 
which they cover within and without with a sort of pitch, so that they 
do not leak in the least (AC. 59). Traces of such a practice are still 
to be found in the quivers for poison arrows of many of the Guiana 
tribes and in the basket trumpets of the Rios I^ana and Aiary (KG, 
I, 198). 

Chapter X 

Shields (116). 

Blowgun : Of two complete tubes (117) ; oviter tube of two split halves (118) ; 
single tube (119). 

Darts (120). 

Dart and arrow poison: Curare (121) ; manufacture and uses (122) ; mancg- 
linier, rappu, markuri, etc. (123). 

Quivers for darts (124). 

Bow: Timbers utilized (125): manufacture (126); bowstring (127). 

Arrow manufacture: Head (128) ; fixation of barb (129) ; shaft (130) ; varia- 
tions in manufacture (131) : feathering (132) ; nock (1.S3). 

Chissifieation of arrows: Head simple, pencil (134) ; jagged (135) ; composite 
and fixed, pencil (136) ; lanceolate (137) ; knobbed (138) ; b»rbed (139-141) ; 
co&posite and detachable (harpoon arrows) (142-144). 

Arrow release (14.5). 

Arrow shooting, practice and skill at (146). 

Spears (147). 

Harpoon spear (148). 

Clubs: Natural forms (149); timbers utilized (150); spatulate type (151); 
paddle type (152) ; block type (153) : dagger type (154). 

116. Shields, variously manufactured, were met with in the 
Guianas, though references to them are comparatively few. Among 
the earliest travelers, Wilson speaks of " wooden swords and 
buclders" (JW, 345) and Harcourt of "Targets very artificially 
made of wood, and painted with Beasts and Birds" (HR, 373). 
Manati hide was employed by the Orinoco Indians in Gumilla's day, 
to protect themselves from arrows in warfare (G,i. 289). as well as on 
the Amazon when first discovered (AC, 85) , whereas tapir hide is used 
at the present time on the Apaporis, a branch of the Yapura River, 
by the Yahuna (Betoya stock) and neighboring Arawak tribes. These 
tapir shields are large and round with a box-like center, made for- 
merly with five layers of skin, which a bullet could hardly pierce, but 
now usually with but two (KG, ii, 287). Wickerwork shields are 
similarly recorded from the Orinoco and Amazon, both the main 
stream and its tributary, the Rio Negro, and appear to have been 
employed for fighting and dancing purposes. Thus Gumilla talks 
of the Orinoco Indians weaving shields {texen rodelas) (G, ii, 89), 
and elsewhere employing the same term (rodela) to denote a Carib 
fighting weapon (G. ii, 91 ; i. 201) . Acufia had previously stated that 
for defensive weapons on the Amazons they [natives] make use of 


ROTH] weapons: hunting and fighting 145 

targets which they make of canes split in two, and which they so 
fitly and closely join one with another, that though they are much 
lighter, yet they are no less strong than those others which they make 
of the skin of the fish pegebuey [manati] (AC, 88). On the upper 
Kio Negro Wallace found wickerwork shields, some of them covered 
with tapir hide (ARW, 351), among the Uaupes River Indians 
(AEW, 195, 351), where they have remained up to the present day as 
dance shields used by the Tukano and Desana (Betoya stock), the 
illustrations (pi. 34 A) representing them as circular in shape and 
apparently manufactured on a spiral foundation (KG, i, 344). [It 
is interesting to note that at the time of the conquest, in 1509, but 
fai- to the westward of the Guianas, Ojeda speaks of a brave and 
warlike race of Carib origin defending themselves with osier targets 
(WI, 645-640). Another reference to shields, also outside the area 
under consideration, is given by Simson from among the Jivaro of 
the Pastassa, a tributary of the Amazon (AS. 91).] Wooden shields 
have also been noted. Thus, in Cayenne, Barrei'e mentions a shield 
(pi. 34 B) made of extremely light wood, which they daub on the 
front with various colors. The shape is almost square, and a little 
concave inward, where there is a handle at the middle, which serves 
to hold it conveniently (PBA, 168). According to a translation 
given in Timehri, 1893, page 45, of Hartsinck's Beschrybing van 
Guiana. 17T0, the only weapon of defense they (apparentlj' Surinam 
Indians) possess, is a shield of very light wood, which they paint in 
different colors. Its form is almost square, a little hollow in the 
center, where a handle is fixed. The Tigiboro shield of the Surinani 
Carib was large and cut out of the spur of a species of corkwood 
tree, bebe (PEN, i, 52). The Arawak of the Pomeroon, I am in- 
formed, employed in the early days a corkwood shield or jacket, 
known as a nonabokuanna (WEE, vi, sec. 370). Brett also speaks 
of a wooden buckler here (Br. 487: BrB, 36). (For wrestling 
shields, see sec. 608.) The Island Carib are said to have possessed 
no targets or bucklers {roiulaches) ^ . . . but their bodies were naked 
(EO, .526). 

117. The blowgun or blowpipe; the sarbacan (ScG, 235), zaraba- 
tana (HWB, 295), or gravatana (ARW, 147); the cura of the 
Makusi, etc. Three types of this implement have been recorded, 
from the westerly areas of the Guianas, according as they are built 
up of (a) two complete tubes, one within the other; (6) an inner 
tube incased in another made of two split halves; {o) a single tube 
composed of two split halves. Among the earliest more or less 
accurate descriptions of the first type of implement (pi. 35 A, a) is 
that of Waterton (from among the Makusi). The reed, he says, 


grows hollow, nor is there the least appearance of a knot or joint 
throughout the whole extent. The natives (Macoushi) call it ourah. 
This of itself is too slender to serve as a blowpipe; but there is a 
species of palma, larger and stronger, and common in Guiana, and 
this the Indians make use of as a case in which they put the ourah. 
It is brown, susceptible of a fine polish, and appears as if it had 
joints 5 or 6 inches from each other. It is called samourah, and the 
puljD inside is easily extracted by steeping it for a few days in water. 
Thus the ourah and samourah, one within the other, form the blow- 
pipe of Guiana. The end which is applied to the mouth is tied 
round with a small silk-grass cord to prevent its splitting; and the 
other end, which is apt to strike against the ground, is secured by 
the acuero {Astrocai'i/vm) fruit cut horizontally through the middle, 
with a hole made in the end, through which is put the extremity of 
the blowpipe (after the style of the "lip of a trumpet"). It is 
fastened on with string on the outside, and the inside is filled with wild 
beeswax. . . . About 2 feet from the end through which the Indian 
blows there are fastened two teeth of the acouri, and these serve him 
for a sight. . . . The Indian on his return home carefully suspends 
his blowpipe from the top of his spiral roof, seldom placing it in an 
oblique position, lest it should receive a cast (W, 96-100). It was 
left to Schomburgk to discover the plant utilized for the inner 
tube, the Arundbmria schonhurgJdi Benth., the curata of the In- 
dians. This grows only in the country of the Guinau and Maiong- 
kong, in the upper Parima, whence these tribes are called the curata 
people (ScF, 238), and perhaps in the neighborhood of the sources 
of the Orinoco (SE, i, 425—126). Von Humboldt had mentioned 
the reeds as coming from the foot of the mountains of Yumariquin 
and Guanaja. They are much sought after, even beyond the Orinoco, 
by the name of "reeds of Esmeralda" (AVH, ii, 453). Having cut 
a suitable length, the Indian dries it over the fire, revolving it on its 
own axis until all the moisture is out. and then hangs it in the sun 
until it becomes of a yellow color. . . . The then straight stem 
of a species of the Arecinea family of palms is left in water until 
such time as the pith is rotted, which is then pushed out with a stick 
and the Ar-undinaria driven in (SR, i, 425-426). On the upper Rio 
Negro the inner tube is described as manufactured of arundinea and 
the outer from the paxiuba palm, Ir-iartea exorrhiza (KG. i, 95-98) ; 
but Wallace, on the lower reaches of this river, mentions both as 
being made from the Iriartea setigera of Martins. The stems, the 
latter author states, are carefully dried in the house, the pith cleared 
out with a long rod made from the wood of another palm, and the 
bore rubbed clean and polished with a little bunch of roots of a tree 
fern pulled backward and forward through it. Two stems are 


- v>ar: ■-.K^^^'i*'. :^^i. ;\tA •Z^'*' liwif . vV-^^ ■ 

.1. Tukaiiu .iaiieci.^ with <]ncU[ 

raMlr. 1 AM.T Is,: 




z.FkcAe^ aniii-cVifi- 

3. J^c?i6.-'ii Ji Av.' 
■f-B bitten 

B, Weapons of the Guianese Indians, Cayenne, showing the light wooden shield (6), and the 
chieftain's pike or scrpo (3). (After Barrfre.) 



■ m>iii tiMniiiitiiii t'-^i 

l Arf»^T«- ■- rrrrr 

s;.^?;-.snCTi. » 

^1, The three types of bluwgua. a, TwocompJele tuhes. one wiLhui tlie other, b, An inner tube incased 
in another made of two split halves, c, A single tube composed of two split halves. 

B, Quivers with deerskin covers, and a bundle of poison darts wrapped aroiuid a central .slick for safety': 


C, Quivers for poison dari> from the Uaupes River district. 


selected of such a size that the smaller can be pushed inside the 
larger. This is done so that any curve in the one may counteract 
that in the other. ' A conical wooden mouthpiece is then fitted to 
one end, and sometimes the whole is spirally bound with the smooth 
black shining bark of a creeper (AEW, 147). In place of the two 
teeth being used as sights a bit of black wax may sometimes serve this 
purpose. Often no sights of either kind appear to be employed. 
Occasionally for the sake of ornament or perhaps for sale as " curios " 
(Br, 141) a finely plaited basketwork covers the whole blowpipe. 
The vast amount of time and labor thus expended upon its decoration 
need cause no surj^rise when it is remembered that a hunter pre- 
serves a blowtube during his whole life, and boasts of its lightness 
and precision as we boast of the same qualities in our firearms (AVH, 
ir, 453). Although manufactured by Makusi Indians (CC, 52), blow- 
pipes may be obtained by them in exchange from the Arekuna, Mai- 
ongkong, and Guinau, in whose territories, as already mentioned, the 
Arurulhiaina is met with (SE, i, 425-426). Indeed, among the Are- 
kuna this appears the general and specially valued weapon, and only 
rarely did Schomburgk see them take bow and arrow when they went 
out hunting. Brett indicates that the Pomeroon Akawai also em- 
ployed blowpipes (Br, 140). Talking of the Demerara Arawak, 
Bancroft says: Blowing these arrows (in the blowpipe) is the prin- 
cipal exercise of the Indians from their childhood, and by long use 
and habitude they acquire a degree of dexterity and exactness at this 
exercise which is inimitable by an European and almost incredible 
(BA, 283). Another reference to Arawak and arrowheads [for their 
blowpipes] is given by Alexander (A, i, 54) . So expert are some of 
the bucks, reports Pinckard, in the use of this tube that at 12 or 14 
feet distance they will strike the arrow almost to a certainty upon 
the edge of a penknife stuck on the back of a chair (Pnk, i, 488-489) . 
The implement at its greatest elevation will send an arrow 300 feet 
(W. 96-100), but this may, perhaps, be dependent iiijon its length, 
which is variously computed at from 8 to 10 (KG, i, 95-98), 12 to 14 
(SB, I, 425-426) , or even to 16 feet (A, i, 54) . 

118. The second type of blowpipe (pi. 35 A, h) is made of a length 
of Arundinaria incased in the two split halves of the young stem 
of a certain tree after each half has been suitably scooped out. The 
whole is smeared with black wax and wound round with bark strip 
in a somewhat overlapjDing spiral. It has been described from the 
upper Bio Negro (KG, i, 96). 

119, The third tyi^e of instrument (pi. 35 A, ( ) is used by all the 
Indian tribes on the upper Amazons, but is also met among the 
Buhagana (Betoya stock) of the Tiquie, a branch of the upper Rio 
Negro (KG, i, 328). Bates's description of the instrument in this 


former locality is as follows: It is generally 9 or 10 feet long, and 
is made of two separate lengths of wood, each scooped out so as to 
form half of the tube. To do this with the necessary accuracy 
requires an enormous amount of patient labor and considerable 
mechanical ability, the tools used being simply the incisor teeth of 
tlie paca {Coelogenys paca) and cutia {Dasyprocfa aguti). The two 
half tubes when finished are secured together by a very close and 
tight spirally wound strapping, consisting of long, flat strips of 
Jacitara or the wood of the climbing-palm tree, and the whole is 
smeared afterwards with black wax, the production of a Melipona 
bee. The pipe tapers toward the muzzle, and a cup-shaped mouth- 
piece made of wood is fitted in the broad end. A full-size zara- 
batana is heavy, and can only be used by an adult Indian who has 
had great practice. The young lads learn to shoot with smaller and 
lighter tubes (HWB, 295). 

120. The arrow generally used with the blowpij^e is from 9 to 
10 inches long. It is made out of the leaf of a species of palm tree 
called coucourite (kokerit). liard and brittle, and pointed as sharp 
as a needle. About an inch of the pointed end is poisoned (with 
urali). The other end is burned to make it still harder, and wild 
cotton is put round it for about an inch and a half. It requires 
considerable practice to put this cotton on well. It must be just 
large enough to fit the hollow of the tube and taper off to nothing 
downward. They tie it on with a thread of the silk grass to prevent 
it from slipping off the arrow (W, 96-98). The arrows which the 
Maiongkong use are more tlian twice the length of those of the 
Makusi. which are only 12 inches long. They are made of the middle 
fiber (midrib) of the palm leaf and dipped in poison for 3 inches 
from the point. The poison looks like the urari, but the Indians call 
it cumarawa and the Guinau markuri (ScF, 229). The arrows are 
rendered as sharp as needles by scraping the ends with a knife or 
the tooth of an animal; that of the pirai fish, Pygocentrus niger 
(SR, I, 425-426), appears to be veiy commonly emi^loyed. On the 
upper Rio Negro the arrows are made of the spinous processes of 
the (Enocarpus bataiva (ARW, 147). According to Pinckard's 
account, it would seem that the blunt end of the poisoned dart was 
not always necessarily wrapped round with the silk cotton. He says : 
The manner of using it (the dart) is by blowing it from a cylin- 
drical tube about 7 feet in length. A bit of cotton is lightly put in 
at one extremity of the tube, the arrow is dropped in at the other, 
and falls to the cotton; the lips are then applied and the arrow is 
forced forward by a sudden puff or jerk of the breath (Pnk, i, 

121. Among the arrow poisons employed by the Guiana Indians 
the most important, and one that has undoubtedly aroused the greatest 

ROTH] weapons: hunting and fighting 149 

interest, is the curare or urari. Other names lor it are uirari in tlie 
lingua geral (KG, i, 98), wourali (AVaterton), woralli (Brown), 
woorara (Bancroft), etc. There is no evidence of its use among tho 
Warrau. Walter Raleigh was the first to acquire certain information 
of the existence of a terrible and swiftly acting poison known as 
ourari, while Humboldt was the first to furnish authentic news of 
its manufacture. It formed the subject of many fables told by the 
early missionaries. That mixed up with it wei'e the fangs of the 
most poisonous snakes, ilangerous ants; that to tost its strength an 
arrow tijDijed with the poison would be stuck into a young tree, and 
if the tree died within three days it was of the requisite quality 
(SE, I, 445-447). Gumilla gives a hearsay account of its manufac- 
ture, in the course of which he says they employ some old woman, 
who regularly dies from the vapor arising out of the pots, whereupon 
they then substitute another woman, who may or may not escape its 
fatal effects. He then continues: To test it when manufactured the 
cacique, dipping the end of a rod into it, places it close to (but with- 
out touching) the blood flowing from a wound purposely made for 
the occasion by one of the young men, either in thigh, leg, or arm; 
if the blood "runs back" into the incision, the poison is first class, 
but if it remains in statu quo or continues to flow the curare has to be 
put on the fire again (G, ii, 12J^i;32). The preparation of the 
poison and the various ingi-edients differ in each tribe which makes it. 
Strychnos of various species are employed (as essential), but the 
taxifera is the most deadly, and, growing as it does in the Makusi 
country, these Indians have the reputation of manufacturing the best 
article. Their poison takes but a few minutes to act, while that made 
on the Rio Negro and Orinoco may take hours. Von ISIartius de- 
scribed its preparation on the Amazon and Yapura, Poeppig in Peru 
and Chile, and Humboldt from the Orinoco at Esmeralda, but ap- 
parently in all three cases different ingredients were used. At Es- 
meralda the patriarch of the only family left when Schomburgk's 
brother subsequently visited there in 18:39 said that he used to get 
his poison from the Guinau and Maiongkong. They made it from 
the Rouhamon guianensis Aubl. or Strychnos cogens Benth. (SR, 
T, 445^47). According to Gumilla, the only nation on the Orinoco 
who knew the secret of manufacture was the Caberre. He believed the 
poison to be identical with that met with on the lower Amazon among 
the Tapajoso Indians (mentioned by Father Acuiia), who either made 
it themselves or received it in barter (G, i, 127). On the other hand, 
in Bates's day the Indians living on the banks of the Tapajos were 
ignorant of curare, the drug being prepared only by tribes living 
on the rivers flowing into the upper Amazons from the north 
(HWB, 187). As a matter of fact the Rio de Solimoes, i. e., upper 


Amazon, was already known as the Eiver of Poisons ... on account 
of the envenomed arrows, the most usual weapons of those nations 
that live upon its banks (LCo, 67). 

122. Curare was manufactured in Schomburgk's presence. He 
described the procedure, which, apparently, is unaccompanied with 
any danger, even the steam arising being harmless. This took place 
in a new house, with new pots, the Indian making his special fire, 
bringing his own water, and allowing no assistance from anyone 
else. Both before and after he submitted himself to a strict fast, 
further essential conditions being that while the cooking process 
was going on no woman, maid, especially a pregnant woman, must 
come near the house, nor must his own wife be in the family way. 
He asked Schomburgk during the course of the preparation not to 
eat sugar cane or sugar (SR, i, 445-447). This restriction, depend- 
ing upon his wife's condition, had already been noted by Waterton, 
with whom an Indian agreed to make some for him, but the next 
morning declined having anything to do with it, alleging that his 
wife was with child (W, 94). Somewhat analogous to the sugar 
taboo imposed upon Schomburgk as a spectator is that of the Indian 
on the upper Parou, Cayenne, who only commenced to free the roots 
of the Strychnos crevauxi out of the ground with a stick after satis- 
fj'ing himself that each of the spectators had chewed and swallowed 
the capsicum given them by the medicine man (Cr, '269-271). 
Schomburgk was informed that, if made properly and kept carefully 
dried, curare would retain its toxic properties for many years, and 
that if lost they could be restored with the juice of the poisonous 
manihot [cassava] root (SR, i, 445^4:7). Moisture would also seem 
to have a deleterious effect on the drug, Waterton noting that the 
Indians keep it in the driest part of the hut, and from time to time 
suspend it over the fire to counteract the effects of dampness (W, 92- 
93). Among the Maiongkong, Giiinau, Uaupes, and the Pauixiana 
weak poison is used for shooting and stupefying the Rhamphastos 
(toucan), which supplies the feathers used for the cloaks, etc. After 
recovery these may, j^erhaps, be shot at and robbed again (SR, i, 
403). There are other I'eferences in the literature to this temporary 
loss of consciousness by the animal shot, but no explanation as to 
whether the curare so emploj'ed depends for its strength upon origi- 
nal manufacture or subsequent treatment. To apply the poison the 
extremity of the dart or arrow is dipped once or several times into 
it, according to the strength required (Cr, 555), but to make the 
juice adhere better small crossed incisions are made on the implement 
(Cr, 269-271). The Trio would seem to have a brush, specially made 
from monkey hair, for smearing the poison onto the dart (GOE, 
pi. V, fig. 13). ' There is Bancroft's statement that the Indians con- 

ROTH] weapons: hunting and fighting 151 

stantly moisten the points of their poison arrows when overdry with 
the juice of lemons (BA, 295). Salt rubbed into the wound and 
taken internally, sugar, and the '"juyce of the leafe called Uppee " 
(HR, 384) are among the alleged antidotes. 

123. Dance makes mention of two other poisons for arrow points — 
the heauru-canali with bluish papilionaceous flowers and clusters of 
pease-pods, poisonous roots, and the hurubuh, its Akawai llanu^ 
similar to the hog tannia. The root of the latter is grated and 
placed in water to get the starch, which, after being dried, is used 
on the jioints of arrows for large birds (Da, 332). Schomburgk 
speaks of the Maopityan having an arrow poison, but which is far 
from being as powerful as curare (SE. ii, 472). The AVarrau accuse 
the Akawai of maldng a deadly poison from a dried and finelj' pul- 
' verized fish, ('helichthys psittacus (SE, ii, 456), but there is no evi- 
dence to show whether it was used on arrows (sec. 734). In Surinam 
it was said that arrows were poisoned with the juice of a tree called 
mancelinier, which grows on the seacoast (FE, 53). Also on the 
islands, Laborde mentions that the ends of certain arrows were 
poisoned with the juice of a tree called manceniller, and the fruit 
mancanille. a name given by the Spaniards because the fruit re- 
sembled apples (PBE, -244). Eochefort likewise noted the mortal 
poison made from the juice of the mancenille by the Island 
Carib for their fighting arrows (EO, 526). Barrere in Cayenne 
speaks of fighting arrows being poisoned witli the fruits of cururu 
[ ?curare] or with the milk of a tree that they call pougouly (Ficus 
venenata), which gnaws and inflames the flesh (PBA, 169). The 
islands in the Eappu Eapids, Essequibo Eiver, and a river nearby 
are so called from the existence of a peculiar species of bamboo, 
not being found farther north. Pieces of the stem of this bamboo 
are dried and used by the Indians (presumably Makusi) as arrow- 
heads, which are said to possess similar properties to the far-famed 
woralli poison. Thej' split up the stem, and dry the pieces over a fire, 
and then shape them into lance heads, which they fasten on the ends 
of arrows. Wild animals wounded bj' these arrows are at once com- 
pletely paralyzed, and in that condition easily dispatched. The 
bamboo is tall, growing singly and not in clumps from a mass of 
matted roots like the common bamboo (BB, 99). It is said to be the 
Xastus latifolia (ScO, 64), Guadua laUfoUa Kth. (SE, i, 338). 
Schomburgk makes mention of a particular kind of bamboo alleged 
to possess poisonous properties used as an arrow point for shooting 
tapir (SE, i, 425). In previous days Gumilla, on the Orinoco, had 
also reported a poison bamboo for killing alligator (G, ii, 220). 
If we are to believe Stedman, the markuri, a tree so-called by the 
negroes, is truly formidable on account of its poisonous qualities, 


which are of such a subtle nature that the very smoke of this wood 
when on fire is fatal to those animals that receive it into their lungs. 
This is always seen to grow by itself, as it infallibly kills everything 
around it, even the slaves refusing to cut it down on the planta- 
tions, so much are they afraid of touching or even coming near 
it. ... I have been told that some of the Indians render their 
arrows fatal by dipping the barbs of them in its sap (St, ii, 182). 
But, on the other hand, markuri is the Guinau name aj^parently for 
curare i^oison (sec. 120). 

124. The Makusi Indians, says Waterton, have shown ingenuity 
in making a quiver to hold their blowpipe arrows. It will contain 
from 500 to 600. It is generally from 12 to 14 inches long and in 
shape i-esembles a dicebox used at backgammon (pi. 35 B). The in- 
side is prettily done in basketwork, with wood not unlike bamboo, 
and the outside has a coat of wax. The cover is of one piece, formed 
out of the skin of the tapir, deer, etc. Around the center there is 
fastened a loop large enough to admit the arm and shoulder, from 
which it hangs when used. To the rim is tied a little bunch of silk 
grass, and half of the jawbone of the fish called pirai, with which 
the Indian scrapes the point of his arrow. Before he puts his arrows 
into the quiver he links them together by two strings of cotton, one 
string at each end, and then folds them around a stick which is 
nearly the length of the quiver. The end of the stick which is upper- 
most is guarded by two little pieces of wood crosswise, with a hoop 
around their extremities, which appears something like a wheel, and 
this saves the hand from being wounded when the quiver is reversed 
in order to let the bunch of arrows drop out (pi. 35 B). There is 
also attached to the quiver a little basket to hold the wild cotton 
Avhich is put on the blunt end of the arrow (W, 90-98). This de- 
scription of the Makusi quiver for blowpipe darts aifords a good 
basis for comparison with other types met with in the Guianas. The 
quiver is usually made of neatly plaited strips of niaranta stalks 
(HWB, 295), or pi'obably other material, and covered more or less, 
sometimes on its whole surface, with " pitch " or resin and wax, the 
karamanni. The bottom is either a thin disk of wood or a piece of 
calabash, usually also covered with the resin, etc. On the upper Rio 
Negro — certainly on the Igana and Caiary — the pitch forms an outer 
covering for perhaps the lower third of the article (pi. 35 C), the 
middle third being enveloped in an additional and finer plaitwork 
showing special patterns. These would appear to have no covers. 
Among the Katapolitani (Arawak stock) of the Igana a quiver was 
obtftined with the inner of these two layers of basketl-y replaced by 
a thick wooden tube (KG, i, 97). The Buhagana (Betoya stock) of 

ROTH] weapons: hunting and fighting 153 

the upper Apaporis and Tiqiiie, on the other hand, have the entire 
article made of a beautiful red wood, which takes on a fine polish. 
The cover, however, is plaitwork encased in pitch. 

The Trio quiver is made of bamboo, engraved in various patterns, 
with a deerskin cover (GOE, pi. v, fig. 12; pi. xi, figs. 18, 19, 22). 
With the I(;ana and Caiary coverless quivers just mentioned the 
darts are protected by placing them points downward into a loose 
ball of bast fiber (KG, i, 98). With the Buhagana ones palm-leaf 
pinnules or the pliable broad stems of a certain grass are bent 
over and tied close ■ to one another with twine, so as to form a 
miniature roll-up mat, in the coils of which, after the style of a 
case of instruments, the darts are firmly secured. When all is 
thus rolled together the mat so closely fits the inner sides of 
the quiver that the downward projecting points do not touch the 
bottom, whereas by means of a string it can be pulled out in its 
entirety as required (KG, i, 329). Schomburgk has recorded that 
the little basket which contains the cotton has a shape peculiar to, 
and indicative of, each nation (SE, i, 425^26) ; and within certain 
areas this may be true. Its construction is described elsewhere (sec. 
417) . On the other hand, as in the upper Eio Negro quivers, where 
the darts are carried already cotton-plugged, no special basket of any 
description is required. The cotton is obtained from the Bomhax 
glohoswm (SR, i, 425-426), the Eriodendron samaiima (HWB. 295), 

125. The bow, shimarabo (Ara.), sumara (Wap.), uraba (Mak.), 
etc., is made from at least half a dozen different timbers, only two 
of which, I believe, have been identified. Among the former are the 
tibikushi and washiba of the Arawak and the tari and wamara of 
the Makusi and Wapishana. The identified timbers are the purple- 
heart {Copaifera jnthiflora) and the letter-wood or snakewood (Bro- 
shnuni auhletil Poepp & Endl.). The latter, also known as burakura, 
burukuru, or burokoro, is a timber of great beauty when polished, 
and thus the finished weapons of this material have come to be 
wrongly regarded as intended more for ornament than for use. 
Letter-wood constituted no unimportant article of trade between the 
Guiana and Brazilian Indians. A large supply comes from the for- 
ests at the back of the Camiku and Pakaraima Mountains. There 
must also be a source of supply somewhere in the Tai'uma country, 
because these jjeople sell it to the Wapishana, who in turn trade it 
to the Makusi. On the upper Eio Negro a species of Tecoma is said 
to be employed (KG, i, 104). On the islands the Carib used the 
latanier palm (EO. 81). The outer surface of the Arawak, Carib, 
Akawai, Patamona, Makusi, and Wapishana bow is either concave or 
60160°— 24 11 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

straight (fig. 42 A, B) ; the inner is strongly convex. The bow 
tapers with this section from the center to the ends, which are ab- 
ruptly truncated to terminate in two tips with a circular section. 
In the Oyana implement (GOE, pi. v, fig. 2) the outer surface is 
slightly convex, while the inner is strongly convex (//), whereas 
along the upper Rio Negro, e. g., the Igana-Caiary district, the bows 
are more or less concave on the inner and strongly convex {€') on 
the outer side (KG, i, 104). 

126. The time taken to make a bow will vary from a few days to 
several months, apparently all dejjending upon the timber employed. 
For instance, the material used by the Warrau and Arawak is soaked 
two days and straightway cut into shape. On the other hand, the 
Wapishana, in the case of letter-wood, I believe, will take much 
time, trouble, and patience in the manufacture of their weapons. 
After the tree is felled it is left for some months in the shade. It is 





FiG. 42 

-Bows ; details ot construction. 

then split, covered with beeswax, and kept under the house roof, 
the reason given being that by this means the air does not get in 
and dry the wood too quickly, which would render it liable to crack. 
The bow is now roughly shaped by rubbing it back and forth across 
the edge of a large piece of sharp quartz, and finally smoothing it 
down with shell, stone, tooth, leaf, etc. (JO). Bows may be glossed 
(sec. 794). 

127. In those cases where the outer surface of the bow is straight 
or concave the whole unused portion of the bowstring (fig. 42 D. E) 
usually lies along it. The latter may be sufficiently long to allow 
of its being run almost the whole length of the bow and back again, 
in addition to being wound round it in three or four places. The 
looped end of the string is attached by a single (F) or double (G) 
loop. On making inquiry to confirm my preconceived opinion that 

ROTH] wEAPOisrs: hunting and fighting 155 

so inordinately long and yet so carefully wound a string was in- 
tended to strengthen the bow, I found myself in the wrong; the 
Indians assured me that they used a long string only because, should 
it hajDpen to be overstretched and broken during the course of the 
chase, there would be another ready to hand. To string the imple- 
ment it is pressed verticallj' on the ground with the left hand at the 
same time that the left knee presses it outward. "While thus bent, 
the right hand twists the string a few times to render it more taut, 
and then slips the loop over the bow tip. The bowstring is made 
either of lairaua twine, at times of tucum leaf-fiber, or of the inner 
bark of trees called tururi (ARW, 338). 

128. Arrows, shimara (Ara.), bail (Wap.), parau (Mak.), etc., 
may be described as consisting of a head, shaft, and nock. Wood, 
bone, or " sjiurs " of the sting ray are used as arrowheads. The wood 
emjjloyed may be that of the yarri-yarri or lancewood, the kokerit, 
the bamboo, etc. Turtle, monkey, fish, deer, and other animals per- 
haps supiDly the bone, but both wood and bone with advancing 
civilization have been more or less gradually replaced by iron. Im 
Thurn was informed by his Carib captain tliat in his youth the latter 
had seen bone, shell, or stone pointed arrows in common use. He 
himself rejjorts having on one occasion seen stone-headed arrows in 
the possession of some Arekuna (IT, 241), but subsequently admits 
(IT, 423) that he only saw them used as toys. More probably what 
this traveler noted were the flakes (sec. 339) out of which the 
chijjs for the stone graters are obtained, applied to this purpose, for 
the Arekuna were certainly manufacturers of these household req- 
uisites. St. Clair has this to say: In the smaller end (of the arrows) 
they (Corentya Arawak) fasten a piece of hardwood, which they 
tip with bones or flints in various forms according to the animal or 
bird against which the arrows are intended to be used (StC, i, 331- 
332) . The use of the term "• flints," of which, strictly speaking, there 
are none here, is suspicious; and it is certainly very extraordinary 
that no other record at first hand is forthcoming of the application 
of shell or stone to such a purpose throughout all the Guianas. Sjiurs 
of the sting ray were fixed on the Orinoco war arrows which would 
cause a wound either fatal or very difficult of cure (G, ii, 205). In 
Cayenne, on the Parou River, such arrow jjoints were destined for tbe 
hunting of the couata monkey (Cr, 308), and in our own colony they 
were employed by Makusi (SR, ii, 38). etc. St. Clair speaks of war 
arrows among the Corentyn Arawak having the bone of a particular 
fish dipped in poison (StC, i, 331-332), while Barrere in Cayenne 
also makes record of fighting arrows being poisoned (sec. 123). It is 
matter for surprise that the Guiana Indians did not make far more 
frequent use than they apparently did of the curare when engaged 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

in fighting their enemies. Curare-poisoned arrows are used in hunt- 
ing, but particularly for killing monkeys, who, when wounded with 
unpoisoned arrows, usually run to the crotch of a tree, from whence 
they do not fall even when dead; whereas, when pricked with a 
poison arrow, their limbs become useless and they fall to the ground 
(BA, 306). The arrowhead is known as tishiri (Ara., head), taliai 
(Wap., leg), pichi (Mak., foot), etc. 

139. To fix the iron or bone barb in position a slot is run along 
and about three-quarters through the wooden head. To be properly 
done in the orthodox manner this is a somewhat tedious process, be- 
cause a series of holes with a deer-horn drill has first of all to be 
made in the length required, and the intervening material then picked 
away with the same instrument (fig. 43). Once completed, the iron 
or bone is wedged in the groove, the whole bound round with kuraua 
twine, and finally covered with some form of native cement (sec. 19). 

130. The arrow shaft, ihi 
(Ara. name of the reed), 
baili (Wap.), etc., is usually 
made from a piece of arrow 
reed, the GyneHum saccha- 
r'oides, a plant which may 
be cultivated by the Indians 
especially for the purpose, 
e. g., on the upper Moruca. 
Near Johanna, Berbice, 
Pinckard reports having 
seen in the neighborhood of 

Method of fixinsr barb iu position. j.i i j_ £ 2.^ n 

^ the huts some of the fine 

reeds growing which are used by the Indians for making their 
arrows. They aj^peared to have been planted about the village 
for the convenience of furnishing a ready supply (Pnk, i, 525). 
The plant is cut into lengths much longer (from 12 to 18 inches) 
than will be subsequently required, and after being made into bun- 
dles are left to dry for weeks, even months, imder the house rafters, 
etc. It is never made to scale or by measurement with a pattern, but 
as will be shown directly, according to its own special requirements. 
Once sufficiently dried, a couple of inches or so are cut off from the 
smaller end, because, what with all the time taken during the drying 
process, some insect, etc., may have got into the pith. The extremity 
is tied round and round with string to prevent its bursting when the 
long, tapering point of the nock is now gradually pushed down, 
jammed, and screwed into the very center of the cut surface. When 
this aperture is at last completed and the hardwood peg loosened and 
extracted the latter is smeared with karrimanui or turai'a cement and 
with very finn pressure reinserted. When this is fixed the string 




weapons: hunting and fighting 


is removed, and the end of the arrow shaft shaved down into a nice 
slope, which is then suhjectcd to considerable pressure, with the re- 

FiG. 4J. — The aiTow-shaft tighteuer. 

suit that its diameter is appreciably diminished and the nock gripped 
as tightly as possible. There is a special tool, the arrow tightener, 

Fig. 43. — ilothod of using tbe arrow-shaft tightener. 

shimara adikuda-kuanna (Ara.) or sklii'ibie (Wap.), by which such 
pressure is effected. Crevaux mentions it as being found in the 
Ijegalls of the Cayenne Indians (Cr, 168) . This is composed of a very 



[BTH. ANN. 38 

strong kuraua twine attached at its extremities to two stumpy turtle 
bones (fig. 44). Winding the central portion of the string a few 
times around the arrow shaft, pressure is exerted by holding one bone 
between the big and fii-st toes and pulling the other in the right 
hand at the same time that the left hand keeps rolling the shaft 

uniforml}' backward and 
forward (fig. 45). This 
completed and the pro- 
jecting portion of unnec- 
essary nock cut away, the 
comjDressed portion of 
the shaft is overcast with 
fine cotton thread, often 
in a " turk's head," or more or less ornamental patterns, apparently 
varying with the fancy of the individual (fig. 46), and as much 
of the projecting nock as is not required is then removed. To 
obtain the correct length of shaft its free end is made to rest 
more or less horizontally upon the left forefinger, but under the 
thumb, where it is flicked downward and inward with the right 

Fig. 46. 

-Cotton decoration of proximal extremit.v 
of arrow shaft. 

Fig. 47. — Gauginp; the proper len^h of the arrow shaft. 

forefinger (fig. 47). The remainder of the shaft will visibly shake 
or vibrate, but less and less according as the length is shortened by 
cutting away a couple of inches or so at a time. AVhen finally there 
is no shaking following upon the flick, the proper length has been 
obtained. The insertion of the wooden peg to form the arrowhead 
is now carried out on practically identical lines as that of the nock, 
and this end of the shaft more or less decorated with cotton thread. 


weapons: hunting and fighting 


which is finally waxed with turara or karrimaniii cement. This 
decoration assumes one of at least, three forms (fig. 48) : The simple 
roll (a), the crossed (b), or the composite pattern (c), i. e., a com- 
bination of the other two, a crossing covered by a roll. Now comes 
the feathering on lines described elsewhere (sec. 83), care being 
taken that the axes of the arrowhead, the feathers, and the notch 
for the bowstring all lie in the same plane. 

131. As variations from the method of arrow making above de- 
scribed, it is interesting to note that I have often seen Warrau and 
coastal Arawak fixing the head of the weapon previous to the nock, 
and as frequent!)' watched them inserting both head and nock pegs 
into the shaft after undergoing sjDecial manipulation to receive them. 
This preparation consists of a pit or hole made by splitting the end 
of the shaft, ojjening out the sj^lit wedgewise and picking out the 

Pig. 48.- 

Cotton decoration of distal extremity of arrow shaft. 

soft parts. But whether this variation is the lazy man's method or 
dependent upon the shaft being insufficiently or too much dried, I 
am unable to say. 

132. Arrows are either without feathering or two- feathered. There 
are records of their having been three-feathered. On the upper 
Parou Eiver (Cayenne) it has been stated that when an arrow is 
intended for shooting into the air, it is fitted with feathers; when 
for the water, it is without them (Cr, 277). A similar statement has 
been made for the Rio Negro (KG, ii, 31), and I have foimd it true 
for the Pomeroon and Moruca. Indeed, the generalization holds 
good, more or less, throughout the Guianas, although, inter alia, it 
will be seen that feathers may or may not be fixed on identical arrows 
(sec. 144), even by members of the same tribe. Thus, with the 
Wapishana, the tukutchi arrow for shooting fish at close range may 
be feathered or not (sec. 139). When feathered, the two feathers 
are fixed on with fine cotton thread or with kuraua fiber, according to 


four different pattei'ns — the diamond, claw, bar, and spiral (sec. 83). 
The first is a Monica Arawak pattern, the akuledahu, so called after 
its resemblance to the " hook " used for catching alligators. The 
claw is also an Arawak pattern. They speak of it as the baridi-obada, 
or chicken-hawk claw. Carib, Akawai, Makusi, Wapishana, and 
WaiTau emjiloy the third type, fixing the feathers with two or three 
ties or bars. This method is not considered so good as the others, 
but takes a shorter time to elaborate, and, hence, for this reason only, 
may be occasionallj' adopted by the Arawak. The spiral is the 
quickest but laziest pattern to follow. The actual feathers em- 
ployed for feathering are from the wing and tail of the powis and 
marudi. The AVapishana and Makusi may, in addition, use those 
of the carrion crow, liarpj- eagle, etc. On the Uaujjes River and its 
tributaries, saj'S Wallace, the lighter arrows are made for shooting 
birds and other small game, and these alone are feathered at the base. 
The feathers generally used are fi'om the wings of the macaw, and 
in putting them on the Indian shows his knowledge of the principle 
which is applied in the spirally grooved rifle barrel. Three feathers 
are used, and they are all secured spirally, so as to form a little screw 
on the base of the arrow, the effect of which, of course, must be that 
the arrow revolves rapidly in its onward progi-ess, and this no doubt 
tends to keep it in a direct course (AEW, 338-339). 

133. The nock, tissa (Ara.), imota (Mak.), idikep (Wap., but- 
tock), etc., is made of any hard kind of wood cut to a length much 
longer than will be ultimately required. After being cut into a grad- 
ually tapering point it is- inserted into the arrow shaft as already de- 
scribed. A natural form of forked nock is met with in the poison 
arrows of the Guariua of the Yapura (KG, ii, 316). 

131. For descriptive purposes it will be found convenient to 
classify the arrows by the nature of their heads, according as they are 
made of one (simple) or more (composite) pieces. The former class 
comprises pencil and jagged groups; the latter includes fixed and 
detachable (harpoon) divisions. The fixed division embraces pencil, 
lanceolate, knobbed, and barbed varieties. These may be classified as 
follows : 
Head simple: Pencil (sec. 134), jagged (sec. 135). 
Head composite and fixed: Pencil (sec. 136), lanceolate (sec. 137), 
knobbed (sec. 138), barlied (sees. 139, 140, 141). 

Head composite and detachable: Harpoon arrows (sees. 142, 143, 

Among examples of the simj^le pencil group are certain poison 
arrows of the Siusi (Arawak stock) of the Aiary River (fig. 49 A), 
where the head is made of a single piece of some hard, black 
palm wood and forms about one-fifth of the implement, which 


weapons: hunting and fighting 


reaches a length of from 160 to 165 cm. It terminates in a fine, 
gradually tapering point, the distal extremity of which is streaked 
with curare, and is incised with five rings, to insure that the head 
may snap in the wound 
when the animal makes its 
escape into the thicket. 
The weapon is not feath- 
ered. The complete outfit 
consists of seven of such ar- 
rows protected in a common 
casing. This is about 20 
cm. long, has the shape of a 
truncated cone, and is made 
of a separate casing of leaf 
or reed for each arrowhead, 
tied together with fiber in 
such a way that six of 
them inclose the seventh, 
their interstices being then 
filled in with pitch. Over 
the whole are now wrapped 
certain tough leaves, tied 
round with fiber, and the 
farther end protected with 
pitch, so as to prevent the 
arrow points piercing the 
cover (KG, i, 103). 

135. The ashiritai arrow 
of the Arawak (fig. 50) has 
a tapering wooden head, 
more or less oval in section, 
and jagged on either side 
into more or less definite 
barbs. The name indicates 
any sharp point in refer- 
ence to the jagged edges. 
It is employed for shoot- 
ing big birds, as manidi, 
powis, and maam, and is 
feathered. A similar arrow 
is used by Carib, Makusi, Wapishana (who call it tarau;, and is 
practically identical with a form described by Pinckard from the 
Indians at Berbice: A thin piece of hardwood, pointed and cut in 
many notches at the sides is fastened to the reed and forms the end 
of the arrow (Pnk, i, 487). So, also, in Cayenne, among the Ojana 

Fic. 49. — Arrows : A, Head simple, a pencil ; B, 
head composite and fixed, a pencil. (.\fter 
Koch-GriiiiberE:. ) 



[ETH. ANN". 3S 

of the Parou River, the arrows for shooting birds or monkeys have 
a wooden dart armed with projections (piquants) turned backward 
(Cr, 277). A specimen is also figured by de Goeje (GOE, pi. v, 
fig. 7). 

136. As exam,ples of the pencil variety of composite arrowhead 
(fig. 49 B) there are the poison arrows of the Kobeua (Betoya stock) 
and Umaua (Carib) of the upper Rio Negro. Their heads consist 

Fig. 50. — Arrow : head simple, jagged. 

of a well-polished dark red or black timber, into the extremity of 
which a pointed piece of hard palm wood is apparently loosely in- 
serted. The whole of this palm splinter is covered with curare and 
occasionally incised with rings. The casing, to hold an outfit of 
seven, only differs from the one already described among the Siusi in 
more careful execution and in outside decoration which consists of a 
plaitwork. These arrows are not feathered (KG, ii, 132). 

137. In the lanceolate variety the head, which varies both in size 
and material— -iron, bamboo, bone — is in its iron stage employed by 

IM' c 

Fig. si. — Ariow ; bead composite and fixed, lanceolate. 

Arawak, Wapishana, Warrau, Carib, Makusi, and Akawai on arrows 
mainly intended for big-game shooting, as the bush hog, tapir, and 
jaguar. With the Pomeroon Arawak this shiparari arrow, so named 
from their word for a spear, is wound just below the base of the head 
with a coil of mamuri in the form of a circular plate, with a diameter 
greater than that of the iron blade (fig. 51 B). The coil is fixed in 
position with a thick strand of kuraua fiber. The object of the plate 
is to make the arrow rebound after striking, and so prevent its remain- 
ing in the flesh only to be broken as the animal rushes headlong. 
There is no disk or similar contrivance on the iron chiparari of the 
Wapishana and Makusi ; the names are practically identical. These 

ROTH] weapons: hunting and fighting 163 

lanceolate arrows are feathered. Lanceolate bamboo arrows are used 
by Wapishana (A) and some of the Makusi for deer and jaguar. 
The latter speak of them as rappu, the name of the bamboo, which is 
said to lie poisonous (sec. I'i3). the former as wad. Lanceolate bam- 
boo-headed arrows are recorded from among the Trio and Oyana of 
Surinam (GOE, pi. v, fig. 4). The former call them pala; the 
latter kurmuri. 

From our own colony, Waterton was the first to describe an appar- 
ently lanceolate composite arrowhead made of wood and poisoned. 
It differed from that of the Siusi, Kobeua, and Umaua in that, in- 
stead of a special casing to hold seven arrows, there was employed 
a special box or quiver to hold a number of heads for a single arrow. 
The arrows, he says, are from 4 to 5 feet in length, made of a yellow 
reed without a knot or joint. ... A piece of hardwood about 9 
inches long is inserted into the ends of the reed and fastened with 
cotton well waxed. A square liole an inch deep is then made in the 
end of this piece of hardwood, wound tight with cotton to keep it 
from splitting. Into this square hole is fitted a spike of coucowrite 
(kokerit) wood, poisoned, and whicli may be kept there or taken 
out at pleasure. A joint of bamboo about as thick as your finger 
is fitted on over the poisoned spike to prevent accidents and to pro- 
tect it from the rain, and is taken off when the arrow is about to be 
used. Lastly, two feathers are fastened on the other end of the reed 
to steady it in its flight. They take care to put the poison on thicker at 
the middle than at the sides, by which means the spike retains the shape 
of a two-edged sword. . . . About a quarter of an inch above the 
part where the coucowrite spike is fixed into the square liole he cuts 
it half through ; and thus, when it has entered the animal, the weight 
of the arrow causes it to break off there, by which means the arrow 
falls to the ground uninjured; so that, should this be the only arrow 
he happens to have witli him, and should another shot immediately 
occur, he has only to take another poisoned spike out of his little 
bamboo box, fit it on his arrow, and send it to its destination : for, 
besides his bow and arrows, the Indian carries a little box made of 
bamboo, which holds a dozen or 1.5 poisoned spikes 6 inches long. 
They are poisoned in the following manner: A small piece of wood 
is dipped in the poison, and with this they give the spike a first coat. 
It is then exposed to the sun or fire. After it is dry it receives another 
coat and is then dried again; after this, a third coat, and sometimes 
a fourth (W, 101-102). Appun speaks of certain Wapishana being 
all armed with bows and arrows, who carried besides several poisoned 
arrowheads in a bamboo quiver, with a leather cover, hanging down 
their backs (App, ii. 56-2). Among the Makusi I came across a 
poisoned arrow, with bamboo cover (fig. 51 C). which bears very 
close correspondence with Waterton's description, save that instead 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

of the base of the head being 9 inches long it is barely half as much. 
The signs of recent cutting also show tiiat, subsequent to the smear- 
ing with the poison, the lanceolate extremity has been secondarily 
and badly trimmed into a jagged one. 

138. Among the knobbed variety perhaps the best example is the 
maroa (Ara., anything round) of the Arawak (fig. 52 B), an arrow 
with composite rounded head, made of any hardwood, and used for 
small birds only; It is feathered. In the case of these Arawak 
specimens, however, I use the term " composite " advisedly, because 
of the knob being often cut out in one piece with the arrowhead. 
I have seen similar ones with the Patamona (A), and Stedman has 
described the same from Surinam (St, i, 395). So, also, on the upper 


-Arrow : liead composite aiu] fixod, kiiol->be(.l. 

Parou River, Cayenne, the Indians tip their arrows with o suffi- 
ciently heavy knob carved out of a bone or an awarra seed (Cr, 277). 
The Taurepang have the knob made of the butt end of a deer horn, 
an interesting adaptation of a natural form, wedged into the split 
extremity (fig. 52 C). Included in this knobbed variety is the 
tamaria or tapara of the Makusi and Wapishana, respectively, with 
the knob formed of four crosspieces (D). Ditferent views seem to 
be held as to the object of these Icnobs. Some arrows have blunted 
heads, instead of points, about the size of a large che.stnut, like what 
our ancestors called bols; with these they do not kill but stun the 
macaws, parrots, and small monkeys, so that they can take them 
with their hands; soon after which they recover and are sent alive to 
Paramaribo (St, i, 395). The Makusi and Wapishana assured me 
that they used this arrow with intent to kill the bird; while the 




Taurepang just as positively declared that the idea of the deer horn 
was to increase the weight of the head so that when shot to a height 
in a tree the arrow would be sure of falling to the ground again. 

[Note. — This latter view is held by Nordenskiold, from the Gran 
Chaco, where the knob is only intended to prevent the implement 
from becoming stuck in the twigs of the trees, and so getting lost, 
should it miss the mark (XOR, 53).] 

139. Composite barbed arrows show so extreme an amount of 
variation that it becomes a matter of no small difficulty to group 
them, except, perhaps, by comparison with certain particularized ex- 



Fig, 53. — Arrow ; head composite and fixed, barbed. 

am^Dles of some well-known tribe — the more advanced the better. 
The Arawak seems to lend itself especially to the purpose. The 
oyawakashi (Ara., meaning unknown) is made of a piece of flat iron 
with a single barb below in the same plane and on the opposite side 
of the single barbed tip (fig. 53 A). It is employed by Arawak, 
Carib. and Warrau for any kind of fish, and is not feathered. The 
nianiari-dahe (Ara.. shark's fin), also of iron, is like the o,vawakashi, 
but has one or two barbs additional in the same plane and on the same 
side as the single tip (B). It is used for any kind of big fish in fresh 
or salt w'ater, and is not feathered. The Makusi and Wapishana 
tukutchi (a claw), for shooting small fish, is identical with the 
Arawak oyawakashi. In one Wapishana specimen I have seen a 
double-barb tip. but I Ijelieve this is quite exceptional. It may or 
may not be feathered. The yatama-idak (Wapishana) or panachika 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

(Makusi) has a double-barb tip with two underlying barbs opposite 
one another and at right angles to it (C). Of the many forerunners 
of this oyawakashi type there is the present-day bone-tipped pointed 
fish arrow of the upper Rio Negi-o (KG, ii, 33), and the lanceolate 
bone and now iron arrow, tubokkeng (D, E) used for deer, etc., by 
the Taurepang. Another is the fish arrow without feathers, with 
a barb made from the radius bone of the couata monkey, described 
by Crevaux, from Cayenne (Cr, 277). Another may have been 
the kind mentioned by Pinckard. from Berbice. The common arrow 
employed in their wars or for the purpose of killing game is nearly 
6 feet long, made of a iDeculiarly straight and fine reed, strengthened 
at the point with a sharpened bone having a barb on one side. It is 
feathered (Pnk, i, 487). 

Fig. 54. — Arrow : bead composite and fixed, barbed. 

140. Closely related to this group is the Arawak kassapa-aring 
(i. e., turtle — belonging to), with a pointed iron tip and single under- 
lying barb, made out of the same piece (fig. 54 A). This arrow 
is interesting in that the shaft, which is feathered, is connected with a 
wooden float (to-yuranni) by means of a long cord. The cord is 
firmly attached below the barb and is passed through two 
loops — one at the distal end of the shaft, the other just above the 
nock. ^Vlien the creature (sea turtle) is struck, the float upon the 
surface indicates the direction that it has taken. 

141. The sarapa is the Arawak name for a composite tj^pe of arrow 
made, like "Neptune's trident." from three hardwood prongs, each 
of them barbed, the middle prong projecting considerably beyond 
the other two. The barbs are of iron, with the lower extremity 
bent backward (fig. 54 B). The name sarapa signifies anything 
doubled, etc.. and has accordingly come to be applied to a double- 
barreled gun. It is employed by Arawak, Wapishana. Warrau, Ma- 


weapons: hunting and fighting 


kusi, Trio, Oyana, Carib, etc., for fish, and, except in the Carib speci- 
mens, is not feathered. Barrere figures from Cayenne a feathered 
five-pronged arrow, the possiru, which was used both for fishing and 
for warfare (PBA, 169). 

142. The atomo is one of the two harpoon arrows used by the 
Arawak (fig. 55 A). It has the entire harpoon made of iron, and 
consists of a double-barbed tip. below which are a pair of smaller 
barbs projecting in a jalane at right angles to it. It is loosely fitted 
onto the head of the arrow and is connected by a strong cord of 
varying length with the shaft, around which it is wound when ready 
for use. This arrow is also met with among the Cai'ib and Warrau, 
and is intended for any big fish, especially morokot, and for labba. 
It is not feathered. The ta-waut or sawato harpoon arrow (B) of 


-Arrow ; head composite and detacliable. Harpoou arrow. 

the Wapishana and Makusi. respectively, is practically identical with 
the Arawak atomo. The only difference is in the method of attach- 
ment, etc., of the connecting rope, which is retained in the hand. In 
this case there is one loop on the butt end of the shaft and another 
on the harpoon. The rope is attached, tied, to the former, passed 
through the latter, back again through the harpoon loop, and again 
through the one at the shaft butt, whence, after being put up in con- 
venient coils, it is finally tied onto the hunter's left forefinger or left 
wrist. This arrow is not feathered. It is employed for shooting the 
stronger kinds of fish — e. g., pacu. 

143. The kartimera, the other Arawak harpoon arrow (fig. 55 
C), has its entire head constituting the harpoon, which is formed of a 
wooden pencil with. an iron double-barbed tip. and a single barb be- 
low jirojecting in the same plane. It is loosely fitted onto the shaft, 
which is peculiar in being made of moraballi. and is attached to it 
by a cord in the same manner as the atomo. Employed in hunting 
bush hog and other big game, the shaft, once freed, is intended to 
check the speed of the beast when rushing through the under- 



[KTH. ANN. 33 

growth after having been struck. It is feathered. The tsararak or 
puya (D) of the Wapishana and ISIakusi, respectively, is very like 
this Arawak kartimera harpoon arrow. Here, however, there is no 
lateral barb on the harpoon, which is socketed onto the head and 
not onto the shaft, which is of the ordinary grass reed. This arrow 
is feathered; the connecting rope is kept coiled on the shaft when 
shooting and it is intended for catching turtle. It is apparently 
identical with the sararacca harpoon of the Carib, etc. (SR, i, 307). 

144. Allied to one or other of these, very probably, are the arrows 
described by St. Clair from the Corentyn Arawak as follows : Those 
(arrows) used for large fish consist of one barb (head), which is 
connected with the reed by a socket, to which it is held by a strong 
small cord. When the fish is struck it immediately dives and the 
point (head) of hardwood leaves the reed, which floats on the sur- 
face, by which means the Indians are enabled to haul the prize into 
their canoes. The Karabiss (Carib) nation use feathers on this kind 

of arrow, but not the Arawak (StC, i, 
331-332). In Cayenne, before the in- 
troduction of iron, the Oyampi and 
Ojana used for " harpoons " a bone 
shaped to a point, usually a splinter 
from the radius of the couata monkey 
attached with tarred thread to the end 
of a piece of hard wood, after the 
manner of a hook (Cr, 148). Unfor- 
tunately, the context is none too clear 

as to whether the author intends by " harpon " a spear or an arrow 


145. When shooting the arrow from the bow by hand it is the nock 
of the arrow held between the thumb and forefinger which is pressed 
onto the bowstring, i. e., Moree's primary' release; but I have no- 
ticed, both among the Pomeroon River Carib and the Arawak, that 
the string is often at the same time pressed upon by the index finger 
alone, a form of release (fig. 56) that does not appear to find place in 
that author's classification. De Goeje speaks of the Surinam Trio 
employing secondary release (GO, 5). So far as the left hand is con- 
cerned, the arrow, lying on the inner edge of the jDalm and middle 
finger, rests between the bow and forefinger which is supposed ta 
guide it. The Baniva (Arawak stock) of the upper Orinoco, like 
the Botocudo Indians, draw their bows with the feet (Cr, 531). On 
the upper Rio Negro, when fishing at night, the Indian will take 
his torch in the right hand and, holding the bow with the left, will 
draw the string and arrow with his mouth (KG, ii, 31). 

146. The requisite skill in shooting with bow and arrow is ob- 
tained only by years of practice. Among the Otomac the mothers 

Fu;, 56. — Arrow release. 

BOTH] weapons: hunting and fighting 169 

were accustomed to encourage their children in the art by making 
them shoot for any food they wanted (G, ii, 89). Bernau makes 
the following statement about the Essequibo Indians: . . . They 
practice patiently until they attain some degree of dexterity. A flat 
piece of wood, or of the bark of a tree, is placed on the sand; they 
measure a certain distance, say 40 yards, and trj' again and again 
till they have found the proper angle of elevation; and hav- 
ing once hit the mark they seldom miss it afterwards. They then 
change the distance to more or less, till at last they become quite 
expert in the game (BE, IGD). Certain it is that some of their 
games (sec. 609) also encouraged proficiency. I do not know of 
any scientific tests that have been made of their accuracy of marks- 
manship, but the following are certainly examples worth recording; 
Standing in a corial in motion, an Indian could shoot an arrow into 
a woodpeckers nest (WER, vi, sec. 277). Even when the river 
current often carried Schoniburgk and his crew with the createst 
swiftness, his Caribs seldom missed their aim with bow and arrow 
at the iguanas feeding upon the trees (ScG, 273). The swiftest 
bird in its flight, provided it has the magnitude of a crow, seldom 
escapes tliem (St, i, -tOl). Tlie Indian stood up in the canoe with 
his bow ready bent, and as we drifted past the place, says Waterton, 
he sent his arrow into the cayman's eye and killed it (W, 21.-i). 
The Amazon Indian can shoot an arrow into the air so as to fall 
vertically onto, and thus pierce, the hard carapace of the turtle 
(ARW, 324) ; and there are records of the practice in the Guiana 
folklore (WEE, vi). [Note; I have often watched the North Queens- 
land native shooting turtle in this manner.] In the times of the 
conquest Ojeda, at the Gulf of Darien, says that the savages could 
transfix a man with their arrows even when covered with armor 
(WI, 652). 

147. Gumilla many times mentions spears (lanzas) from the 
Orinoco, but unfortunately without detailed description; e. g., they 
trim and polish sticks as strong as steel in order to make spears of 
them (G, ii, 89) ; wooden spears so hard that they can rival with 
the shaipest bayonet points (G, ii, 98) ; young men armed with bow, 
arrow, and spear (G. i, 253). But more than a century previously 
Harcourt had recorded spears as " long staves sharpened at the point 
and with fire hardened" (HR, 373). The Carib Islanders had 
azagayes (assegais), a kind of small sharpened lance, made of the 
wood of the latanier palm, which they darted with the hand at their 
enemies (RO, 81). 

C..D. Dance in his "Recollections of Four years in Venezuela" 
(London, 1876, p. 154) gives an interesting reference to this weapon 
at the time of the revolution, the heterogeneous cavalry with its 

60160°— 24 12 


equipments being followed by a regiment of Caribbes infantry, 
" Sotillo's men," as they were proud to be called ; " Sotillo's blood- 
hounds," as their enemies called them. Each was equipped with his 
bow and quiver of arrows suspended over his back, and shouldering 
a lance, his only clothing a narrow strip of girdle and the lap. At 
the present time on the upper Eio Xegro the Indians will attack the 
larger wild animals, bush hog and jaguar, at close quarters with 
wooden spears {stosslansen) as long as themselves, tipped with a 
broad lancet-shaped piece of iron of European manufacture (KG, i, 
107). De Goeje records an iron-tipped spear from among the pres- 
ent-day Trio of Surinam (GOE, pi. v, fig. 14). What material 
immediately preceded the iron tip it is now difficult to say. The 
nearest geographical reference that I can call to mind is from the 
old Estado Coro, between Maracaibo and Caracas, occupied by the 
Indios Caiquetias, who had wooden spears tipped with bone points. 
Of prehistoric evidence, stone spearheads have occasionally been un- 
earthed in the northwestern coastal area of our own colony. Two 
such specimens, of quartz and jasper, are to Ite seen in the George- 
town Museum (pi. 36 A). In Cayenne the only mention of a spear 
is that by Barrere of the old-time short joike {demie pique, or spon- 
to)t ) of the Palicour, who called it serpo. This was a weapon of dis- 
tinction, and used only by the chiefs of the nation (PBA, 167). On 
the whole, spears would seem to have been more generally employed 
in the western than in the eastern Guianas. Certain very curious 
spears for fishing are noted from the Orinoco Indians by Gumilla 
(G, I, 281), while Schomburgk speaks of the Warrau using light 
spears for killing fish (SE, i, 163), but in both cases the statements 
are unaccompanied with descriptions. The latter author is probably 
referring to the harpoon spears (sec. .148). More recently there has 
been recorded a curious three-pronged fish spear, made of iriartea 
palm, used on certain branches of the upper Rio Negro (KCr, ii, 34). 
Mention also has been made and illustration given of a two-pronged 
spear from the Apaporis (KG, ii, 30). Arawak speak of a spear 
as shiparari, though they do not nowadays employ one. It gives, 
however, a name to their lanceolate pointed arrow (sec. 137). Spe- 
cially carved and decorated spears are used with the wicker dance- 
shields by the Desana when kaapi is being drunk, and upon such 
occasions only. The upper end of the weapon is forked and each 
fork tipped with a piece of wood, bone, or a rodent tooth fixed 
with kuraua twine. At its lower extremity is a spindle-shaped en- 
largement in which pebbles are inserted by means of two longitudinal 
slits to form a kind of rattle. This spear is not struck on the ground, 
but while held fore and aft horizontally is struck on the performer's 
shoulder (KG, i, 345). Reference must be made to the poison spears 


.1 , Old-time stone spearheads from British Guiana (Georgetown Museum.) 

B, Typos of spatnlate and paddle-shaped clubs from llic Uaiipes River. (After Koch- 












kuth] weapons: hunting and fighting 171 

from the watershed of the Yapura, used both for hunting and fight- 
ing purposes. They possess a separate tip, though loosely affixed, 
and are made up into bundles of seven (sec. 762), their ends pro- 
tected in a common casing, but with separate divisions, as were seen 
to be the case with the poison arrows of the Siusi, etc. (KG, ii,270). 
148. Harpoon spears. — The Warrau on the Waini, etc., employ a 
harpoon spear for the capture of the larger kinds of fish. The 
earliest account I can find of such a weapon is the following : A fine 
young fellow (a Warrau on the Haimara-cabura, a branch of the 
Moruca Eiver) had a kind of javelin, the shaft of which was made 
of a strong reed, in one end of which was inserted a piece of hard- 
wood, forming the point. . . . He told me that it is used in striking 
the morocotc and other large fish, fruit, or seeds, which they are fond 
of, being scattered on the still water while the Indian watches their 
rising, and kills them with an arrow or this kind of dart (FPJ, 43). 
The present-day article (fig. 57) is identical in construction with the 
atomo (sec. 142) save that the shaft of the latter is replaced by an 
8-foot or so length of ite leaf stalk, which is slit, contracted, and 

B^G. 57. — Harpoon spear of the Warrau. 

tightly bound at either extremitj'. When iron is not available the 
barb is made of deer bone. [Tlie estolica, a spear projected with a 
throwing stick or board, though met with in the Amazon district in 
close proximity (AC, 86-88; S-M, i, 1024, etc.), does not seem to 
have entered the Guianas.] 

149. Among the Yahuna (Betoya stock) and other Indian tribes 
of the Apaporis certain primitive clubs are met with comparative 
frequency. They are heavy, knotty, natural wooden cudgels, about 
a meter long, to which a loop of palm tliread or bark fiber is tied at 
the center. This loop is firmly attached to the right wrist, the 
weapon held with both hands, and the attacker, bending down, will, 
by thrusting the cudgel forward in a more or less horizontal posi- 
tion, repeatedly strike his opponent on the upper thigh or shin bone 
and so bring him to the ground, where he can be dispatched (KG, 

150. In the Guianas proper there would seem to have been at least 
four different types of war club scattered throughout the country, 
but they are apparently fast falling into disuse, if they have not 
already done so. It was Schomburgk who said that each tribe had 
its particular shape, although for some unknown reason the shapes 



[ETH. aw. 3? 

are interchangeable. Thus, among the Makiisi, he says he found 
the form of war club which is peculiar to the Maiongkong (SR, i, 
425). Among the timbers employed for the manufacture of these 
weapons was the ironwood, purpleheart, snakewood, the amara, wa- 
mara or brown ebony, the washiba or bowwood (CC, 52-53), and 
black cinnamon (BE, 14). The clubs are frequently carved with 
fanciful figures (StC, i, 331), or, rather, they engrave on them various 
very peculiar designs, which they fill up with diverse colors (FE, 
55) , or they may be decorated with a very fine plaitwork. The handle 
is covered with cotton, wound tightly around it to prevent the hand 
from slipping, and it has also a stout loop of the same material, which 
is placed around the wrist for fear of dropping it when fighting. 
In battle, says Schomburgk. they (Makusi) take only seven poisoned 

r? o 

a b c d c f g hi 

Fig. -58. — Diagram .showing variations in sliape of tlie Guiana club. 

arrows with them. When these have been shot they come to hand-to- 
hand battle with the clubs (SR, i, 425). 

151. An obsolete spatulate club of the Caiary and Igana Rivers 
(upper Rio Negro) was that made of a hard red wood, over a meter 
long, the handle decorated with an engraved pattern, and gradually 
passing with a flattened course (fig. 58 a) into the narrow blade with 
rounded edge (KG, u, 133). The wooden swords mentioned by 
Harcourt and Wilson (sec. 116) may have been war clubs of this 
spatulate type. 

158. The paddle-shape club, with pointed proximal extremity and 
a flattened distal one, is of wide geographical distribution, having 
been met among the Arekuna, Wapishana, Makusi, Arawak, Warrau, 
Oyana, Koroa, Umaua, etc.; i. e., practically from Cayenne to the 
Orinpco (pi. 36 B). Some of these weapons were of large size and 
required both hands to wield them (Br, 97). Occasionally (e. g.; by 
the Umaua) they were used as canoe benches (KG, ii. 132). These 














paddlelike weapons are seen to vary from almost straight sides (fig. 
58 b) to highly convex {c, d, e) and concave (/'), even double concave 
{g) edges. The last mentioned may be highy ornamented with incised 
designs (GOE. pi. vi). Modifications of this paddle club can be 
employed for dance purposes by Ojana (GOE, pi. v, fig. i), Koroa 
(KG. II, i:3H), Maknsi (pi. 37 A), Wapishana, and others. 

153. Another fonn of club (pi. 39), the block or cubical type, of 
similar or perhaps even wider disti'ibution than the former, is the 
mossi, or mushi, of the Arawak, the potu, biitu, or aputu of the Carib 
(fig. 58 h). Manufactured from tlie hardest and hea\aest woods pro- 
curable, it had square ends with sharp corners, thinned in the middle 
where it was wound round with strong cotton thread, to which a 
strong loop of the same material (woven into a band — sec. 53) was 
affixed. In the old days it would seem to have been occasionally pro- 
vided with a sharpened celt inserted into a carefully cut pit, hollowed 
out on one of its sides, wherein it was fixed with karaman cement. The 
extraordinary statement of Stedman that the Indians used to fix the 
stone in the future club Ijy sticking it in the tree while growing, where 
it soon became imbedded, when in due course the tree was cut, etc. 
(St, I, 397), has been relocated by Brett (Br, 134), Crevaux (Cr, 16), 
and others. Modifications of this block form of club, but on a much 
smaller scale, and often with an incised decoration, are requisitioned 
on occasions of dance and festivity, perhaps also of ceremonial. Cer- 
tain of the stone hatchets have been mentioned as fighting implements 
(PBA, 168, 174). 

151. The remaining type of Guiana war club (pi. 37 B) appi'oxi- 
mates that of a dagger (fig. 58 i). and though met with by Schom- 
burgk among the Makusi, is said by him to have been peculiar to the 
Maiongkong. Both Akawai and Carib have told me that their fore- 
fathers were wont to use this Meapon. It runs at one extremity to a 
sharp point, above which the club broadens more and more until it 
becomes again bluntly pointed above. The handle is toward the 
middle of the weapon. The object of the sharp point is to insert it in 
the car and then drive it into the brain of the fallen foe (SR, i, 425). 
It was thus used as a club, a cutting weapon, and a bayonet. The con- 
stant companion of the Maiongkong, when he sits down or squats, he 
sticks it into the ground in front of him ( ScF, 238) . The handle was 
overcast with cotton thread (sec. 43). 

Chapter XI 


General methods and means of capture (155-161) ; preparatory ordeals, etc., 
for the hunter, etc. (162) ; eoolving .-aid preservation of food (163). 

Capture of auimals: acouri, adouri, agouti, labba (164) ; armadillo (165) ; ant 
bear (166): hog (167); deer (168); manati (169); monkey (170); 
otter (171) ; rat (172) ; sloth (173) ; tapir (174) ; water-haas (175). 

Capture of birds in general (17(5-180) ; quail (181) ; duck (182) ; cock of the 
rock, toucan, etc. (183) ; qua chare (184). 

Capture of fish by diving, feeling, stealing (185) ; enticed by sound, scent, or 
sight (186-189) ; caught by bow and arrow, harpoon, cudgel, cutlass (190) ; 
hook and line, with bait (191, 192), and without bait (193) ; cylinder fall trap 
(194) ; spring hooks (195-200) ; fishing nets (201) ; dams (202) ; weirs and 
fences (203 I ; creels, cage.'^, etc. (204-206) ; puddling (207) ; poison (208-214). 

Of remaining animals: turtle, tortoise (215); iguana, lizard (216); alligator 
(217); frog, toad (218); snake (219); crab (220); molluscs (221); earth 
worms, etc. (222); insects: caterpillars and grasshoppers (223); beetles 
(224): antt (225); wasps and bees (226). 

Honey (227). 

155. The employment of dogs in the capture of game i.s of common 
application. It is usual for Indians to go in canoes along the banks 
of rivers or creeks while their dogs range the woods ; and when they 
light on game they immediately give tongue and endeavor to drive 
the terrified animal to water ; here, the Indian on the watch . . . pre- 
l^ares his bow and arrow, and paddles his canoe without the smallest 
noise in the direction of the sound, and transfixes the animal as he 
plunges in the water (Arawak on Corentyn, StC, i, 317). Again, 
dogs may be trained to hunt particular animals only, as deer, acouri, 
quail, tortoise (sec. 162). 

156. The hunting instinct of otters and jaguars for fish and tor- 
toise, respectively, may be utilized by Indians in stealing from them 
their quarry (sees. 185,215). 

157. With nocturnal animals the sudden and unexpected appear- 
ance of daylight as mimicked by a flash-light, torch, or lamp may 
prove the creature's undoing. At any rate this is the explanation 
given by the Indians to account for the success met with by the ex- 
ercise of such methods. A torch at night, as is well known, will 
bring certain fish within reach of club or cutlass. The popular be- 
lief is that they are attracted out of curiosity, the Indian view being 









'/,;> -^*;/T'(^ ■'■■■''*"-- , 0:3' 







tliat they ai'e fooled into lielieving that the day has dawned. So 
with the labba, both opinions ai-e current. On the upper Demerara 
at every little timber grant or Indian camp is to be seen the regular 
bull's-eye lantern of the London " bobby." These lanterns or 
'"shoolers" are imported and sold expressly for labba hunting. Drift- 
ing noiselessly at night down the stream in a corial, with a friend 
guiding the paddle, the huntsman, with gun in one hand, flashes the 
lantern in the other along tlie banks. "When about to shoot he raises 
his gun to his shoulder, steadies it with his left hand that still holds 
the lantern, and by the help of the light shining along the barrel, 
takes aim and fires. 

Among other methods cojmnonly practiced is that of holding 
a big drive and. circling around, shooting at close quarters. In the 
AYaiwai country the Indians will thus drive the big black spider 
monkey (the couata), and on the Takutu the Wapishana will do the 
same thing with the deer (JO). So. also, on the Orinoco, when the 
Guajiva and Chiricoa reached the banks of a stream they would 
sweep the area in a semilunar evolution, and might extend it so as 
to complete a circle. In this manner they would all advance together 
toward the center, so that nothing — jaguar, deer, etc. — could escape 
when they discharged their arrows at close quarters. In order to 
facilitate the hunting, and so that the long grass should prove no 
obstacle, they took care to fire the ground, full of brambles, in close 
proximity to the stream where they proposed halting, and where tlie 
animals came to drink (G, i, 255). The burning of savanna grass 
for driving deer was also practiced on the Eupununi by the Makusi 
(SR, I, 363). 

158. Snares and traps of various descriptions are also employed to 
catch game, birds, and fish, while to bring an animal within arrow- 
shot the most common method is to imitate its call. The latter may 
be effected with the mouth alone or bj' blowing into a folded leaf. In 
the pairing season it is a common trick on the Barima and Kaituma 
Rivers to imitate the call of the tapir and so bring it within range of 
bow and arrow. The same is done with deer (sec. 168). 

159. Hiding shelters, watch posts, etc., in the form of more or less 
permanent inclosures fixed in the ground or upon the trees are em- 
ployed by the Taruma, Waiwai, and Parikuta. Before the advent 
of guns they were used by the Wapishana. Those built on the 
ground, usually in the neighborhood of their cassava fields, are made 
of four uprights joined by crosspieces at a height convenient for the 
hunter to shoot his arrows. Kokerit leaves, with their stalks down, 
are arched over these crosspieces toward the inside and in sufficient 
quantity to prevent anything within from being seen. Here the 
Indian will take u^j his jjlace and watch for acouri and other .small 


game. Again, in calling the powis the Taruma, Parikuta, etc., will in 
a few minutes with twigs, leaves, and branches rig iqj a temporary 
fence and from behind its shelter bring down the bird as soon as it 
has been called within arrow shot (JO). At Mapeinie village, in the 
Canuku Eanges, on the recently foimed small lakes, the Makusi 
were busied in making oval-shaped leaf-thatched shelters that rose 4 
to 5 feet above the surface, in which they hid tliemselves. From in- 
side these they shot with blowtube or gun the birds that were strutting 
along the shore or wading around in the water (App, ii, 446). 
Similarly, watch posts are constructed high up in those particular 
fruit-bearing trees visited by certain birds, as toucans, and here they 
are watched for and shot (pi. 40). In the neighborhood of the 
Cuya River, on some of the higher trees rising in the savanna, 
Appun saw such exceedingly large nests that he jokingly considered 
them suitable for holding a roc's egg. On closer view and inquiry 
he found them to be huge ba.skets plaited by the Indians, who lay 
in them at night waiting for the jaguars that prowled around (App, 
II, 181). 

160. Hunting arrows may be poisoned or not. Particulars of their 
construction and uses will be found elsewhere (Ch. X). They may 
be used with traps. 

By means of a comparatively simple apparatus (pi. 38, A) a bow 
and arrow may be set for striking tapir, deer, or labba, the arrange- 
ment as a whole being known to the Arawak as shimara-abbadago- 
tah (arrow trap). Two strong uprights (a, a) are driven firmly 
into the ground and joined by a horizontal crossbar (c?), the height 
at which this bar is fixed depending upon the particular animal to 
be shot, a height of one hand-width for labba, three for deer, and 
eight for tapir, a hand-width being reckoned as the distance between 
the tip of the extended thumb and the inner edge of the closed palm 
(B). A third strong ui:)right (A, k) is driven into the ground be- 
tween them right behind. Between the anterior pair and resting upon 
the crossbar are two smooth rods {d, d), each supported horizon- 
tally on a small forked stick {I, I) . The central portion of the bow (/) 
is next strongly tied on to these two uprights immediately above the 
crossbar and the rod ends. The catch string (g), against which 
the animal strikes, is now attached at one extremity to a post, tree, 
etc. (A), on the immediately farther side of the track and, passing 
under the crossbar, is fixed at the other to a carefully trimmed key 
pin (e) lying across the rods. This pencil, after the catch string 
has been stretched sufficiently taut, is held in position by the pres- 
sure upon it of a trigger (6) tied on to the posterior upright and 
passed from below upward and over the drawn bowstring. The ar- 
row (?«) is finally adjusted in place, only to be freed on the dis- 
turbance of the catch string, whereby the key pin is tilted forward, 


and with this the trigger and bowstring released (WER, rv). A gun 
fixed somewhat simihirly is sometimes substituted for the bow. 
Dance speaks of a trap gun used for water haas on the Berbice 
River, with several long cords attached so as to strike the animal 
walking in the immediate vicinity, no matter the direction in which 
it may be moving (Da, 14). In this latter respect he is probably in 
error, as will be seen in the description given by G. E. Bodkin in his 
•' Gun-Trap of the Guiana Indians " (Ti, Sept.." 1919). 

161. In the area along the upper Barima River, armadillos, labbas, 
and similar game are caught with a fall-trap. Along both sides 
of the track followed by the animal one builds a fence of vertical 
sticks, the tojas of which are about 2 feet from the ground. In front 
and at either extremity of one side of this passageway is fixed a 
forked stave which supports a rod slanted off at its ecstremity, the 
slanted tip of one rod overlapping that of the other. A long lath 
placed at one end at a very acute angle on the ground rests at the 
other upon the base of each rod, the former being attached by 
bush rope, etc., to each extremity of a comparatively heavy log which 
projects beyond the ends of the alleyway and lies its full length 
along and above it. A string with a loop is looped over the two 
overlapping extremities of the rods, and passing downward behind 
a crossbar firmly fixed to two of the middle vertical sticks constitut- 
ing the fence, is tied round the trigger below. This trigger is a more 
or less flattened piece of wood with an upper broad base and a lower 
comparatively tapered extremity. The former presses on the cross- 
bar, the latter upon the end of a key pin measuring the width of 
the run, and maintains it by pressure in position up against a ver- 
tical stick on the opposite wall. On the animal passing through the 
trap it knocks against the pin and releases the trigger, with the residt 
that the overlapping tips of the rods fly up and the log falls down 
and crushes it. Being built upon the particular track followed by 
the labba, annadillo, etc., the trap is never actually set until some 
time after construction, so that the quarry may become used to it. In 
the meantime the pin is removed and the point of the trigger held 
against a secondary temporary crossbar placed below the fixed one. 
The extremities of the laths only overlap for about half an inch or so, 
an arrangement upon wliich the whole delicacy of the trap depends. 

Schomburgk mentions certain artificial hedges. 2 or 3 feet high, 
with ojjenings 50 paces apart, in the neighboring forest at Golden 
Hill, Demerara River, for hunting the smaller mammals. At each 
opening is a trap which, when set loose, falls on the animal and 
kills it, but the idea has doubtless been borrowed (by the Arawak) 
from the negroes (SR, ii, 499). Such fall-traps ai4 still in use and 
can be met on the Demerara River up from Christianburg, which is 


only 4 miles from Golden Hill. They are Iniown as sappa, which is 
probably Creolese for trapper. They are used for catching bush rat, 
hibba, and acouri. It is fixed either along the run or in the spaces 
purposely left open in the artificially made bush fences. It consists 
of a heavy plank weighted with a stone, etc., one extremity of which 
hangs in a loop hung up from one end of a catch-stick resting on the 
crossbar fixed on two vertical forks. The plank is cut out of the spur 
of some large tree, and may be replaced by a heavy log, but in this 
case its lower surface must be squared down so as to have a sharp 
edge where it rests on the bait stick. The farther end of the plank 
rests against a peg so as to prevent it from slipping. The other end 
of the catch-stick is held down by the bait-stick, upon which the 
.sharp edge presses. As the animal nibbles the yam, potato, etc., 
attached to the bait-stick, tliis latter slips from off the catch, with the 
result that the plank being released falls and crushes the animal 

162. With the object of winning success in the chase, the hunter 
will submit to various purposely inflicted inconveniences and suffer- 
ing (i. e.. he voluntarily undergoes certain ordeals). Some of these 
have been discussed elsewhere (WEE, vr, sees. 227-231), while others, 
such as nose-stringing, are given with more detail in the present \o\- 
ume (sec. 63) . I have still, however, to add a few notes concerning ant 
biting. For this purpose the insects are held in a convenient position 
by inserting them in the meshwork of at least two types of frame. 
At Walcrapo village, about two days' march behind Toka, on the 
Eupununi. Charlie, the house master, a Makusi, gave me a triangular 
itiriti frame (pi. 42 A) of a liexagonal jiattern, which he told me he 
put to use on himself by fixing certain biting ants in the interstices, 
so that when pressed on his arm and breast they might bite him. 
The shape of the framework, he told me, represented the breastbone 
of a deer, the game which he especially sought to htmt. The com- 
moner type of frame among the Makusi and other closely related 
tribes thus used to secure luck in hunting (WEE, vi, sec. 230) is 
made of numerous itiriti strips tied together like a roll-up mat (pi. 
12 B). Such ant frames must not be confused with those employed 
for purposes of chastisement (sec. 739), nor with the more compli- 
cated and more highly finished article used in the eastern Guianas 
at the puberty and marriage ceremonies (WEE, vi, sees. 2G9, 276). 
But, besides the master, his hunting dog may be subjected to a form 
of purification by different ordeals, quite as painful as those under- 
gone by himself (WEE, vi, sec. 232). Caterpillars, such as the hairy 
Gaatro pacha, were roasted and then rubbed in the nose of the liunt- 
ing dogs before proceeding on the cliase. the Indians believing that 
by doing this they will possess a keener scent (App, ii, 415). Even 



Fig. I. Itut trnp of the Ar:iw:ik and Warrau. 

e d 

Fig. i. Spring snurcs for birds. A, Arawiik and many other tribes. B, Makusi, 
Patamona. C, Uaupes River District Indians, n, Running noose; h, triggei ; 
r, spring; </, frame; e, key-pin. 

Fig. 3. Bird traps and snares. ^-1. B, Fail trap. C, Snare trap. 


.1 . Purposely de^i^'ied to reprc^oiit the breast bono of a deer. 

B, Willi ihc bodies of live ants in its iulerslices, as a pn-ijaralory urdeal fur huiiliiig. 


then the necessary chain of conditions to insure good luck is incom- 
plete without the application of the many attraction charms, or binas 
(WER. VI, sec. 233. Consult PEN, i, ch. XVII) . 

163. The usual Indian method of cooking- all animal food is by 
boiling it either with water or the juice of "poison" cassava, to 
which they add such a quantity of red pepper as would instantly 
excoriate the mouth of a person unaccustomed to its use (BA, 323). 
Meat can thus be preserved " moist " almost indefinitely by keeping it 
soaked with this boiled poison juice, or " cassarip," and peppers, and 
boiling it daily — the ordinary form of what is known as "pepper 
pot." Meat can be likewise preserved " dry " by smoking it from 
time to time on the so-called barbecue, boucan, babracote, etc. The 
Wapishana. Atorai. and Taruma boucan their deer and tapir meat, 
and after drying well and removing the bones they pound it up in a 
mortar and serve it dry. The ordinary corn mortar can be utilized 
for the purpose, but a special one is occasionally employed (JO). It 
is said that the better to preserve the flesh of birds these are some- 
times boiled previous to barbecuing. To prepare any larger sized 
bird, as powis. for the table, it will be dressed by a woman as fol- 
lows: The feathers are all plucked, except from the head, and the 
bird tied up by the neck at a height of about 3 feet to a strong staif 
stuck vertically into the gi-ound. The cook (in this particular in- 
stance a Makusi) first of all cut off the toes, then the drumsticks, 
and next the thighs: the wings then followed suit. On sticlring her 
knife into the bird's crop, and twisting it around once or twice, 
the various seeds, etc., that had been swallowed fell onto the ground. 
With a vertical cut down and along each shoulder and side the 
" breast " was removed in one piece. Tlie whole of the entrails were 
now extracted in one mass by a careful manipulation with the hands, 
and the heart and liver thrown into the cooking pot. The back was 
next divided from tlie neck, and this finally divided from the head. 
On the Oyapock Eiver the Oyambi Indians, after smoking the tapir 
meat on the lioucan. l)ury it in the ground with leafy branches be- 
neath and many leaves above (Cr. 199). When salt is available, the 
fish, where the size warrants it. is cut open and cleaned, its sides 
slashed with vertical cuts, the salt well rubbed in, and then dried in 
the sun. Small fish are generally wrapped in banana. Scltaniinea, 
etc.. leaves, tied up, and roasted (App, ii, 304, 537). The Indians 
throughout tlie upper Orinoco fry their fish, dry them in the sun, 
and reduce them to powder without separating the bones. Von Hum- 
boldt describes having seen ma.sses of 50 or 60 pounds of this fish 
flour {manioc de peseado) which resembles that of cassava. Wlien it 
is wanted for eating, it is mixed with water and reduced to a paste 
(AVH. II, 454). Wapishana pound the fish, mix it with salt, and 


jam it into an earthen pot which is kept well covered. It is said 
that it can be preserved a long time in this manner (JO). ■ 

Fish roes are a great delicacy to the Indians, who, in the spawning 
season, shoot an immense numljer of heavy fish, the bodies of which 
are of little account when the roes have been extracted. The roes are 
then smoked, and in this state large baskets of them may often be seen 
in their houses (IT, 237-238). On the Rupununi I have watched the 
Makusi eating arowanna {Ostcoglossum sp.) eggs, after folding them 
up in a kokerit leaf and roasting. 

The Orinoco Indian fashion of cooking a turtle is to place the dead 
animal in a hole in the sand, just as it is, without any cleaning and 
without removing the shell. It is then covered with sand and a big 
fire lighted on top (Cr, 576). So far as the eating is concerned, the 
husband takes the upper shell and attached meat, fat, etc., and the 
wife the lower shell (G, i, 292-298). To preserve turtle for future 
requirements, the practice of penning them up in pools or stockades 
was, and is, in vogue throughout the Guianas. On the Orinoco they 
kept large quantities of the very little ones in artificial pools dug out 
of the sand (G, i, 292-293). On the Amazon they dug a pond of a 
moderate depth to hold a good quantity of water, which they inclosed 
with a palisade of stakes, etc. (AC, 63). In Cayenne they kept the 
turtles in stockades (PBA, 156). Turtle eggs are considered a deli- 
cacy and are eaten fresh or smoked. Immense quantities of the eggs 
are placed on frames and dried over a slow fire and in the sun's heat. 
They kept lots of such dried eggs in baskets at their houses (G, i, 
18(». 292-293). An extremely important product of the turtle egg Is 
tlie oil (sec. 26). With regard to bird's eggs, all kinds, even when 
stinking, are eaten by the Surinam Carib with gi-eat relish (AK, 188, 
191-192). The eggs of the Crotophaga iiw)&r, or " Old Witch " bird, 
are sought by the Makusi on the Zuruma or Cotinga (SR, ii, 159). 
As to the eating of the ordinary domestic fowl egg, see section 724. 

164. Acouri, agouti {Dasyprocta aguti), adouri {D. acuchy), and 
labba {Coelogenys) are hunted with dogs, or shot either when 
coming to feed or when "called" within range. The labba . . . 
always keeps near the water and plunges in when pursued. The In- 
dians hunt it in two parties, one chasing it with dogs to the stream, 
while the other, in a small canoe, follows the sound of the chase (Br, 
20). Favorite foods of the acouri are the fruits of the mora and 
awarra {Astroctnyvm) , and hence the hunter will build a staging up 
in a tree near one of these, and there keep watch on a moonlight night 
for the qnarrj' to come and feed on the fallen fruit. In the Pataniona 
country I saw a " bench " fixed to a tree at such a height as to require 
a special apparatus (fig. 69) to reach it— a sapling, bent to one side 
and tied to the trunk, and a vine hoop hung on the bench itself, each 




taking the place of the rung of a ladder. The call of the agouti can be 
imitated by whistling through a leaf rolled up like a horn (Or, 205). 
On the way back from making an ascent of Mount Roraima my Pata- 
mona guides ran down an acouri in the open savanna. Each time 
the creature tried to turn into the bush one of the boys intercepted it, 
and thus forcing it out into the open, they kept on chasing it until 
they succeeded in getting near enough to kill it with a stick. Within 
recent times, on the Demerara River at least, the acouri, etc., is hunted 
by lamplight (sec. 158). Acouri andlabba are also trapped (sec. 161). 
165. The armadillo is usually dug out of its underground burrow. 
To prevent disappointment the Indians carefully examine the mouth 
of the hole and put a short stick 
down it. Now, if on intro- 
ducing the stick, a number of 
mosquitoes come out, the In- 
dians know to a certainty that 
the armadillo is in it ; wherever 
there are no mosquitoes in the 
hole, there is no armadillo. 
[Strange to saj', as I have 
already recorded, the North 
Queensland aborigines practice 
a similar method of determin- 
ing the presence of an opossum 
in a hollow tree.] The Indian, 
having thus satisfied himself 
that the armadillo is there, will 
cut a long and slender withe and 
introduce it into the hole. He 
carefully observes the line the 
stick takes, and then sinks a pit 
in the sand to catch the end of 
it. This done, he puts it far- 
ther into the hole and digs an- 
other pit, and so on, until at last 
he comes up with the armadillo which has been making itself a passage 
in the sand till it has exhausted all its strength through pure exertion 
(W, 212; StC, n, 45-46). It is said that a labaria snake is commonly 
met in the armadillo buri'ow. Gumilla also refers to this association 
of the two animals from which many misfortunes arise. For instance, 
among the Guajiva and Ohiricoa, who live principally on them, there 
is not a tribe (capitania) but has 40 or 50 of its members mutilated 
or lamed. These people are so savage that if, in pulling an armadillo 
out of its hole, one gets his hand bitten by the snake, the others im- 

-Au acouri bench in the Patamona 


mediately cut it off. If the individual hajDpens to be alone he does 
this for himself (G, ii, 262-263). The association of armadillo and 
snake is also drawn attention to in one of the legends (WER, vi, 
sec. 7). 

166. Many of the Indians appear to have a great dread of coming 
into direct contact with the ant bear or giant anteater {Myrme- 
cophuga) ; and after disabling him in the chase never think of ap- 
proaching him until he is quite dead (AV, 206). There is a reference 
to this practice in the story of " How the anteater fooled the man " 
(WEIR, VI, sec. 153). He is said to be able to crush to death with his 
claws not only a jaguar or tapir, but even a man. I only know of 
the flesh being eaten by Carib. 

167. Of the bush hogs, better known perhaps as the peccary or 
kairuni {Dlcotyles lablatm) and the abuya (D. torquatus) , the more 
foniiidable is the former. The characteristic dorsal scent gland of 
these animals, which for well over a century was regarded as the 
navel, has to be cut out immediately after death, as otherwise the 
flesh can hardly be eaten. As a matter of fact the term applied to 
the creature, kairuni, is derived from the Makusi word kair, signify- 
ing '' stinking " (SR, ii, 95). Like those of the deer, etc., the entrails 
are eaten and relished. It runs in herds, sometimes comprising be- 
tween 200 and 300, and woe betide the Indian if he comes upon them 
unprepared, in which case his only chance of escape lies in climbing 
a tree. Fermin, it is true, would have us believe that the surer way 
is to wait for them without stirring, and to void one's urine, because 
they dread the smell very much (FE, ii, 92-93). Brown describes 
the method adopted by Parmu, his Carib companion, as follows: 
His plan of shooting hogs was to get in their front, and when they 
charged or ran he stepped behind a large tree, around which the 
drove passed on either hand. As they held on their way he dis- 
charged his arrows into the mass with good effect. Although it) 
seemed to be a dangerous proceeding, hemmed in for a few moments 
on both sides by hogs with a tree at his back, it was not so, for they 
never attempt to turn when rushing forward in this way (BB, 252). 

On the Cotinga . . . dogs are trained to force away a straggler 
from the pack and endeavor to surround it until the hunter gets up 
and can shoot it. When this is killed the dogs hasten to secure a 
second and a third, etc., out of the pack. Should the hunter meet 
a drove and not have his dogs with him, he tries his best to sneak 
onto the quarry, and then climbs a tree, whence he imitates the bark- 
ing of a dog. The animals hardly hear the sound before they rush 
in the direction where their arch enemy is supposed to be, and sur- 
round the tree, whence the Indian, with his bow and arrow, can now 
slay several (SR, ii, 164). Gumilla talks of the Orinoco Indians as 



hunting bush hog with a harpoon made of bone or iron, with two 
barbs on either side, and attached by a strong cord to the shaft. 
When the beast is struck the harpoon is freed from the shaft, which, 
dragged along, gets caught in the undergrowtli (G. i, 258-260), 
The present-day Waiwai use a detachable bamboo-headed arrow 
for the same purpose with similar results (JO). When hunted with 
dogs and a bush hog is driven, say, into a hollow fallen log, no little 
ingenuity has to be exercised in getting him out and preventing his 
escape. By the old Warrau and a few Carib of the Pomeroon dis- 
trict, a creel-like cage is made to fit the open end of the timber, where 
it is firmly fixed with stakes, etc., wedged into tlie ground, and a hole 
cut (if not already there) in the narrower extremity, tlirough which 
the creature is driven out from behind by fire or by prodding with 
long sticks. Once in the cage he can be easily secured. An identical 
arrangement is apparently employed by the Waiwai, judging from 
the accompanying illustration (pi. 44). 

168. In the savannas, where there is little or no bush, as soon as 
the creature (deer) is sighted and is observed to bend down and 
graze, the Indian creeps forward like a cat, keeping the animal always 
in view, but remains as still as a statue directly the animal raises 
its head again. He may take two or three hours to get within range. 
When within 100 paces he mimics the call of the buck. The deer is 
all attention, pricks up its ears, stamps its forefeet, and gradually 
circles closer and closer until, when within 20 paces, the hunter lots his 
arrow fly (SR, n, 57). But all this would aj^pear to be unnecessary 
trouble, because the deer can be walked up to within arrow or gimshot, 
provided that each time the creature looks up from grazing the hunter 
remains absolutely still in the particular position he may have as- 
sumed at that moment (JO). Instead of being attracted by the 
call, deer may be attracted by scent. The Guaybas, Tunebos, and 
Chiricoas of the Orinoco, when deer are to be seen, will anoint their 
breasts and portions of the arm with mara resin (probably derived 
from the Protmm carana), and, taking up a position with bow and 
arrow in the direction whence the wind blows, will cover themselves 
with leafy branches. As soon as tlie deer scent the mara they go in 
search for it, with head raised and distracted, and thus the Indians 
shoot them at their pleasure (G, i, 272). Other methods commonly 
adopted for their cajsture consist in driving the deer with dogs down 
to the river, where the hunter will be lying in wait, or in watching 
for them at night in the clearings, or in setting arrow traps along 
the paths the}^ are wont to travel. On the savannas the deer may be 
surrounded with a ring of fire and thus shot by the Wapishana (JO). 
The same people on the Takutu would seem to regard deer entrails, 
etc., as titbits (SE, II, 57). 


169. The manati, lamentin, sea cow, river cow, or pege buey (fish 
cow), etc., can be caught either with harpoon, fish arrow, or net. 
The Amazon harpoon thus employed was made of shell (AC, 61). 
Gumilla gives the following very graphic account of a manati hunt 
on the Orinoco. The wife paddles, while her husband stands at the 
bow watching for the animal to come to the surface to breathe. 
Paddling quietly along, directly the creature appears, the man will 
strike it with a double-barbed harpoon held by a rope (made of 
manati leather), the distal end of which is tied to the front of the 
craft. As the manati feels himself wounded, he darts off like light- 
ning, for a league or more, dragging behind him the canoe wherein 
the man and woman are supporting themselves at considerable risk. 
Dii'ectly the manati stops, the Indian pulls on the rope little by 
little, until the victim, recognizing the canoe, starts away a second 
time. The rope is again pulled at, and so for a third time, when 
the animal invariably rises to the surface exhausted. They then 
haul him close to the canoe, open his belly, and so he dies. Xow, 
although the river may be a league wide, and with nothing to afford 
them foothold, these two people, hy themselves alone, will succeed 
in getting the creature, weighing between 600 and 700 pounds, into 
their boat as follows: They both jump into the water, and holding 
onto the sides of the canoe, tilt it over so as to get it almost full of 
water. They then easily push the vessel under the creature, and 
by means of a bailer {vasija) called tutiima (a calabash) which, 
for the occasion, is carried on the head like a cap, they start bailing 
out the water. As the water empties, so the canoe gradually rises 
with its load, which leaves just enough room to navigate it with. 
Tlie Indian now climbs in and sits on the creature's head, while his 
wife takes up her position on the tail, and thus they steer the vessel 
to port, where their relatives and others are waiting for them, and 
among whom it is shared with great liljerality (G, i, 285-287). The 
means adoj^ted for getting the huge creature into the corial, by sink- 
ing the vessel beneath it and then bailing it out, is also recorded by 
Wallace on the Kio Negro (ARW, 319-320). The Corentyn Arawak 
used the sarapa or three-prong fish arrow to shoot the manati. . . . 
They generally go by moonlight, or very early in the morning, when 
the animal comes to graze on the foliage of the riverside, pad- 
dling their canoes quietly until they get within reach, and then 
letting fly their arrows. The animal immediately dives beneath 
the water, but soon appears again on the surface. . . . The 
hunter then discharges another arrow, and blows upon a shell 
having a small hole cut in it. The sound is reechoed by the woods, 
and alarms the animal so much that it again dashes off, followed 
by the canoe. The Indian can see the direction which it takes by 


the (arrow) reed rippling the surface of the water. In this manner 
he pursues his game, blowing the shell whenever it appears, until 
the beast, quite exhausted with loss of blood, floats on the surface 
and becomes an easy prey (StC, i, 333). It is also said that the 
manati can be occasionally caught in the river by talring a portion 
of the flower of the moku-moku and hanging this (taking care not 
to handle it except through the medium of a leaf) over, and almost 
touching the water near where the creature is supposed to be. As 
the manati approaches the bait, it is shot with arrows (Ti, June 'S3, 
p. 110) . Wallace, on the Amazons, speaks of the manati being caught 
in a strong net at the narrow entrance of a lake or stream and killed 
by driving a wooden plug up its nostrils with a mallet (ARW, 128, 
319-:i20). The Wapishana similarly plug the two nostrils with a 
forked stick (JO). 

170. Monkeys may be "called'' within arrow shot, either of the 
bow or blowpipe. J. G. Quelch, when on a journey up the Essequibo 
and Potaro, speaks of a Makusi huntsman imitating the cry of a 
couata monkey so exactly that when the man had disappeared some 
little time in the bush, so that the loudness of his voice was deadened, 
it was perfectly impossible for him to distinguish which was the 
imitation and which the real cry of the brute (Ti, .Tune '89, p. 159). 
To secure the half-gi'own young Cebus apella, the Malmsi will shoot 
them with stumped, instead of pointed, arrows, and thus stun them 
(App, II, 442). It would seem that on tlie Orinoco monkeys were 
shot with the harpoon arrow (G, i, 260). 

171. In recording his experiences among otters or "water dogs" 
on the Berbice. Dance says that when the boys see them they emit a 
wide open-mouth sound, while tapping the larynx with their fingers. 
The gurgling sound, which somewhat resembles the tone of the 
otter's voice, often brings these animals around a corial, apparently 
infuriated (Da, 119). I have met with similar experiences on the 
Moruca River, but do not know of its flesh being eaten by any of the 
tribes, except perhaps the Carib. 

173. The rat trap (pi. 41, fig. 1) of the Arawak and of the Warrau, 
who use a species of this animal for food, consists of a noose («) , bent 
switch spring (s). bar (&), hook (A), and inclosure (<?, e). The noose 
is made of an itiriti strip about 4 feet long, twisted upon itself, and 
then allowed to double over, so as to form a two-strand locked by its 
own torsion. Its free ends are knotted together {1-). Twine, etc., 
can not be substituted for the itiriti, the latter being the only ma- 
terial to hand which will not " stick " should rain or moisture fall. 
The bar, from 12 to 16 inches long, is strong yet pliable, and after 
being stuck firmly into the ground has its exposed portion bent over 
at right angles, a position maintained by means of the forked stick or 

60160°— 24 13 


liook (/)) clamped over its extremity. It is thus made to lie horizon- 
tally with, and about one-half an inch from, the surface of the soil. 
Looped on to this bar is one end of the noose, which is successively 
looped through itself, fastened by a clove hitch on to the extremity 
of the spring, and passed back again from outside under the bar, 
where it is fixed in place by means of a cylindrically cut piece of 
cassava jammed tightly up against the knot into the interspace be- 
tween the bar and the surface of the ground. Except immediately 
in front of the noose, the whole is surrounded with a miniature fence 
or inelosure (c, e), formed of a broad itiriti or other leaf, set up edge- 
wise between a varjdng number of light wooden slips. [For dia- 
grammatic purposes, a portion of this inelosure is represented as 
transparent in the illustration.] As a result of this arrangement 
to get at the cassava the rat has to pass through the noose, in which, 
as soon as he starts digging up and removing the bait, and so frees 
the knot, he gets hoisted and caught (WER. iv). 

173. The Waccawai (Akawai) and Carib eat the flesh of the three- 
toed sloth, which they describe as fat and well flavored (ScE, 168). 
The Waiwai and Parikuta also eat it (JO). 

174. As to the tapir or bush cow, the Achagua watch for these 
animals at the river banks and imitate their call. As they approach 
they .shoot them with poisoned arrows (G, i, 264). On the Rupununi 
8chomburgk also speaks of shooting tapir with the poisoned arrow 
(ScO, 110). Elsewhere they may be snared or shot with the arrow 
trajj. Schomburgk also describes how, on the Cotinga, when they 
were cleaning one of these beasts, the [Makusi] Indians carefully 
collected the blood, mixed with it small pieces of finely cut meat, and 
stuffed it into the intestine, which they did not cook, but only smoked 
(SR, II, 169). 

175. The water haas {Hydrochcerus capyhara) is apparently the 
creature mentioned by Depons in the following terms: Another 
animal which abounds in the Oroonoko (Orinoco) and the neighbor- 
ing rivers is termed by the Carib capigua, by the Indians chiquire, 
and by the Spaniards guardatinajas. Its muzzle resembles that of a 
sheep, its skin is red, and its tail so short as scarcely to be perceptible. 
These animals are eaten by the inhabitants on fast days from the 
idea that they partake more of the nature of fish than of land ani- 
mals. They always swim in shoals, and occasionally raise their heads 
above water to respire. They feed upon the herbs which grow on 
the banks of the lakes and rivers, and are regarded by the Indians 
as a delicious morsel. They consequently kill them in considerable 
numbers by means of their arrows (FD, 151). An interesting note 
on the preparation of the flesh of this creature for food comes from 
the Upper Rupununi. . . . The men took it to the beach, and, re- 


moving its entrails, filled the cavity with water. They then peeled 
short pieces of mokumokii stems, and with them beat up the water 
until it became frothy, continuing the process, which they called 
frothing, for a quarter of an hour. This was done to remove the rank 
flavor of the flesh, which it did most efl'ectually (BB, 145). 

176. Birds may be snared, " called " within arrow or gun shot, 
hunted with dogs, or sneaked up on and picked ofi^ by hand, poisoned 
dart, etc. The use of hiding shelters has already been mentioned 
(sec. 159). The old Dutch residents used to call certain parrots 
noose-birds {Stropvogels) because they were caught with a noose 
(strop) which was effected thus (by the Arawak between the Deme- 
rara and Berbice Rivers) : The Indian, knowing the trees where the 
parrots mostly reside, covers his whole body, as well as the stick to 
which the noose is attached, with leaves. He knows how to let this 
drop dexterously over the bird's head. and. drawing the stick toward 
him, is always certain of its cajDture (BEE. 85. See also sec. 181). 

177. The spring snare (pi. 41, fig. 2 A) is made of a nmning 
noose (a) attached to a trigger (J), and thence onto the end of the 
spring (c). Having fixed a thin half-hoop withe {d) finnly into the 
ground, the trigger is arranged in such a manner that so long as the 
connecting string remains taut it will support by pre&sure the key pin 
(f) placed across the legs of the hoop. Upon this key pin. and at a 
gentle slope, are made to rest some three or four perches, over which 
the noose is spread. The weight of the bird on any one of the perches 
is sufficient to press down the key pin. with the result that the 
trigger being freed, the noose is suddenly dragged upon and tight- 
ened, wherein either head. leg. or wing is caught (WEE, iv). I have 
seen this trap used by the Pomeroon Arawak, but it is of a type 
similar to that met with on the Eio Xegro (KG. i, 228) ; indeed, on 
a larger scale, an identical spring snare is employed throughout the 
Guianas for such huge creatures as the tapir and the alligator. 
With the Makusi the staging is done away with altogether (B) and 
instead of a comparatively high hoop a square frame is fixed in 
the ground. The key pin is here kept in position by a potato, etc., 
which, on being shifted or removed by the animal, bird, rat, or 
whatever it maj' be, sets the spring and with it the noose in motion. 
The Patamona are said to substitute a smooth round pebble for the 
potato. In the Uaupes Eiver district area (C) the half hoop is 
retained, and the staging dispensed with, the key pin itself constitut- 
ing the perch. Once the bird alights on this the trigger is released. 

178. The fall trap (pi. 41, fig. 3 A, B), perhaps of foreign intro- 
duction, is made of a centrally raised cover, the constituents of which, 
made of thin sticks, are jammed together in pairs, placed one above 
the other, in opposite directions, after the two diagonal strings have 


been finnly tied to the four corners of the original lowest and largest 
frame. The cover is raised on one side (B), the center of which rests 
upon a vertical pencil, formed of an upper and lower mortise deli- 
cately balanced. From the latter to the opposite side of the cover is 
stretched a string, the slightest disturbance of which will break the 
balance of the pencil, and so cause the trap to fall ; a very common 
method of catching pigeons (WEE, iv). 

179. The Moruca River Warrau youngsters will use the following 
snare trap for catching small birds during the nesting season (pi. 41, 
fig. 3 C) : It consists of a light cane ring (a), about 6 or 7 inches 
in diameter, to which are attached two arched pieces (b, c), crossed at 
right angles. A large number of slip nooses («), all formed of 
kuraua twine, are next tied around the limbs of the arches, so as to 
control the entire intermediate areas. [For clearness sake only 
one space is shown covered with nooses in the diagram.] The ends 
of the nooses are attached by clove hitch. The frame is tied to a 
branch over the nest with but little chance of escape for the bird 
when flying home (WEE. iv). 

180. Bird calls are imitated to perfection by Indians. Not infre- 
quently, writes Bodham-Whetham, we obtained a powis or dorakuara 
by such means. At night the Indians would note the position of the 
roosting bird by its notes, and then in the early morn proceed in its 
direction, attract it by their imitative cries, and shoot it (BW, 257). 
In some of those cases where the bird call does not lend itself to imi- 
tation the bird itself may be caught and assist the Indian in securing 
others. The captive creature mimics a free one. Decoys are thus 
made use of, as in the case of grass birds, etc. Among the Arekuna 
Indians in the far hinterland, certain small parrots {Pionus pileafus 
Gm.) used to be easily caught by specimens of the same bird confined 
in a basket (App, ii, 181). 

181. It would seem that quail on the Orinoco were hunted with 
dogs, almost "pointers," as judged from the following description: 
With his little mongrel ahead of him the Indian, shouldering his 
basket, carries a rod with a noose at its extremity. The dog pur- 
sues his course and the birds take to flight, which is slow and short. 
The little cur, barking away, follows them, and they in their turn 
getting afraid don't remain on the ground but make for the first 
little tree or bush that happens to be near. Still barking away, the 
dog pursues them with greater eagerness, while the quail, with their 
attention so keenly fixed on him, do not appear to realize the presence 
of the huntsman, but allow themselves to be snared with the slip 
knot. Nor does the dog become silent until the last bird is caught 
(G, II. 260). Wapishana of the present day similarly employ the 
slip knot and rod (JO). 


182. Dance mentions how, on the Curiebrong River, he saw two 
boys quietly swim out and dive. Wliile the "wicissi" ducks were 
luxuriating in the river, they were eacli seized from under the water 
by the lads (Da, 233). [This method of capturing ducks was par- 
alleled westward of the Guianas, on Lake Maracaybo, where the 
Indians purposely allowed empty calabashes to be continually floating 
on the water around their habitations in order that these birds, by 
being habituated to their presence, might not be intimidated. When 
an Indian wished to procure any of these fowl he put on his head a 
calabash, perforated so as to permit him to see without being seen. 
In this manner he went into the lake, keeping his head above the sur- 
face of the water, but taking care that no part of his body should be 
visible. He proceeded thus, swimming to the spot where the wild 
ducks were collected in the greatest number, then seizing them by 
the feet he immediately dragged them below the water, so that they 
had neither time to cry out nor to make any motion which could warn 
the others of the impending danger. As fast as they were taken he 
fastened them to his girdle, and never thought of retiring until his 
wants were fully satisfied (FD, 15).] 

183. To obtain the beautiful skins of the " cock of the rock," or 
"rock manikin" {Rupicola eh'</ans), the Indians will look out for 
their " playing ground," ... a spot secluded from the path, from 4 
to 5 feet in diameter, and which appears to have been cleared of every 
blade of grass and smoothed as by human hands. . . . There he 
hides himself, and, armed with his blowpipe and poisoned arrows, 
awaits the arrival of the dancing party. He does not fire until they 
are so eagerly engaged, to all appearance, in their sport as to allow 
him to bring down four or five successively before the rest take alarm 
and disperse (ScF, 236). The toucan may be robbed of its feathers 
by shooting with a poisoned arrow (sec. 122) and allowing it to re- 
cover — perhaps to be shot and robbed again, subsequently. 

184. Guacharo, salies {Steatomis canpens/s). Brown, in the 
neighborhood of Ackar village, on the upper Mazaruni, thus describes 
his visit to the nesting places of these birds: We entered a gorge in 
the mountains . . . Our guide pointed out a cave in which he said 
the salies or guacharo birds live. Wishing to see them, we ascended 
the slope to it, arriving at a great vertical rent in the rocks some 10 
feet wide and 50 feet high. . . . The Indians had a bush rope made 
fast on the cliff above, let down through a hole in the roof, which 
they used for climbing up to dislodge the young salies from their 
nests on the ledges. They eat these young birds and make oil from 
their fat (BB, 386). 

185. Fish. — It has been recorded that on the Orinoco, after the 
breeding season, by just rowing over the shoals of fish in certain 


creeks the stroke of the paddles will cause the fish to jump out of 
the water, and so fall into the boat (G, i, 279-280). On the Ber- 
bice it is not an uncommon feat to catch the large haimara by find- 
ing it asleep in the morning and placing two of the fingers through 
its eye sockets (Da, 120). The Cai'ib Islanders would dive for fish 
among the rocks and pull them out of the crevices where they lay 
hidden (RO, 506). On the Rupununi River I have seen the imiri 
fish, " flatheads." thus caught by the Malmsi : The Indian would 
grope in the submerged fenestrated rocks and pull out the creature 
with his liands alone or with a curved stick. Schomburgk also speaks 
of his men diving for Hypostoma (SR, ii, 33). Every Indian child 
knows how to " feel " for fish in the river banks, trenches, etc. On 
the Takutu the Indians adopt the simple method of stealing from the 
ottei-s the fish already cauglit by them. Otters have the habit of 
going into the water and bringing fish after fish to their eating 
place, where, when a sufficient quantity have been heaped up, they 
start eating. The Indians turn this peculiarity to their advantage. 
They carefully stalk the neighborhood of such places, wait patienth', 
and as soon as the otter has returned to the water after depositing 
his booty, take it away (SR, ii, 36). An analogous theft is made by 
Indians of tortoises caught by the jaguar (sec. 215). 

186. To entice fish within arrow shot, etc., their sense of sound, 
scent, or sight may be stimulated. 

187. The only fish to be procured in this part [of the upper Maza- 
runi] was a short, small, stubby creature, having a spot on each 
side, being probably of the same family as the sunfish or lukunanni. 
The Indians procured some by bringing the woodskin to a stop close 
to a bank where rocks or sunken logs were numerous and then whis- 
tling softly, upon which these fish swam slowly out from their hiding 
places as if to inquire into the cause of the sound and were shot with 
the arrow or taken with a baited hook (BB, 392). The Parikuta, 
Makusi, Atorai, and Wapishana will also whistle for fish. The 
Parikuta would seem to have particular whistle sounds for par- 
ticular fish, as electric eels (JO). The yarrau is undoubtedly lured 
by a sort of whistle which the Carib are particularly adept at prac- 
ticing. In September. 1920. I was fishing on a tributary of the 
Barima and could catch nothing, when I chaffed my Carib boat hand 
about the superstition. He thereupon whistled a short, plaintive 
staccato note, and repeated it some six or seven times, when a couple 
of large yarrau put in an ap^Dearance. The sound of the rod lashing 
the water surface may give rise to similar results (sec. 193) for 
attracting fish. 

188. In the height of the rainy season fish are scarce and can only 
be procured by means of the arrow, certain ants, sj^iders, or seeds of 


various kinds having been previously cast into the water to entice 
them to the surface (BE, 39). Spiders are used for the purpose by 
Arawak and Akawai on the upper Demerara. Any spiders will do, 
so it is said. They are caught by flicking them with a small plait- 
work bat, somewhat after the style of a flycatcher, into the interstices 
of which they stick, and are kept in a little plaited basket specially 
made for the purpose. Five or six spiders, ordinarily the day after 
they are killed, are put into this basket, which, tied to a string, is 
slung over a forked branch onto the surface of the water. By holding 
the free end of the string, the fisherman bobs this a few inches up 
and down into the water, when the fish are attracted from all direc- 
tions, and he can now use his bow and arrows. Among many such 
fish that are atti-acted by this spider bait are the tibikuri, cartabak, 
pirai, etc., but with the last mentioned care must be taken that the 
creature does not spring out of the water and snap half the basket 
away. Spiders can likewise be baited on a hook. Crab nuts, cara- 
camata seeds, moku-moku, genipa fruit, and, according to one ob- 
server (IT, 238), that of the hevea and smilax can thus be utilized. 
A number of the seeds of the carapa or crab nut are pounded, and 
having been inclosed in a netting of withes, they are put in the water 
and soon attract the greedy morocot. An Indian stands ready with 
a light spear, which he lances into them (ScB, 183). This same 
ground bait is used for cartabak ["^^Tetrcvgonopterus] on the Canje 
Creek (DF, 54). At the mouth of the Barima caracamata seeds are 
thus employed for morocot or osibu (SR, i, 138). The Indian, after 
having provided himself with a number of these caracamata seeds 
(aramatta of the Creoles, haiariballi of the Arawak, fDiplotropis 
sp.), selects a spot where no trees of this description are growing 
along the banks, and having everything ready throws a few of the 
fruits as an allurement on the water where there is little or no current, 
and while the morocoto rises to seize them, spears it (ScK, 239-240). 
At the falls on the Essequibo, etc., the fruit of the moku-moku is 
used as a ground bait for the Myletes pacu Jard. (SR, i, 300). When 
the river is high and heavy rain still frequently falls and dulls the 
color of the water so that even the Indian can hardly see the fish 
under the surface, ... a basket of open wickerwork filled with the 
green apple-like fruit of the lana, Genipa americana, is thrown into 
the river and allowed to float with the stream. Standing in the bow 
of his canoe or woodskin . . . the Indian follows the floating basket. 
The lana seems to be a very attracti^'e bait to fish, for they rarely 
fail to rise to it. As soon as this haj^pens, a rush through the water 
indicating where the fish is, the arrow flies and the fish is almost in- 
variably transfixed (IT, 237). Cartabak seem to be very fond of 
calabash pap, which is offered them wrapped up in pawpaw leaves. 


189. During the rains between April and May on tlie upper Dem- 
erara the men at night light up the scene with torches, and with the 
use of the cutlass or knife capture fish by cjuakefuls (Da, 219). This 
is a common practice evei'ywhere. Knives or other weapons are not, 
however, necessarily required with the torch ; Spix and Martins speak 
of an Indian on the lower Amazon attracting a 12-pound fish {Phrac- 
tocephalus sp.) to the shore by means of a light, and then seizing 
it in his hands (S-M, in, 1026). On the Orinoco a remnant of baize 
or colored cloth is tied to the end of a stick and held about a yard 
{vara) above the water surface while the canoe is being jDaddled 
along. Morocot and bagre [? Silurus hagre] with their very large 
teeth bite into the cloth and are thus pulled into the boat (G, i. 279- 
280). Fly baits (sec. 192) would also fall into the category of fish 
being attracted by sight. 

190. In addition to the bow and arrow, the harpoon arrow (e. g., 
for the pacu shot at the falls when the mourera is in flower), the 
harpoon sjDear (e. g., for morocot and other large fish), cudgels, 
spears, and cutlasses are employed for killing fish. The arrows spe- 
cially constructed for this purpose are said never to be feathered. 
The arapaima (Sudis glgas) are taken generally with a harpoon 
fastened on a long pole, which is thrown from the canoe, and to 
which is attached a long line to give the fish play, as they are so strong 
that they can not be hauled in to be killed until they are weakened. 
This is generally perl;ormed with a club of hard wood with which 
heavy strokes are inflicted upon the skull. The canoes which are 
used in these fisheries are sometimes very small, with only a fisher- 
man and a boy to steer. After the fish is killed, they sink the canoe, 
put it under the fish, and by shoving the canoe backward and for- 
ward throw out as much water as allows it to float; the rest is baled 
out with a calabash, and the fish is transported to the place of rendez- 
vous (ScK, 19S). A staging is often erected in or upon the banks of a 
stream or lake, whereon the hunters can watch and rest to take aim 
when shooting arrows. During the months that the Orinoco is on the 
increase (due to the melting of the snows in the higher reaches) the 
Indians, says Gumilla, use no other method than to carry, some of them, 
rough cudgels, and others their very curious spears. They proceed to 
the level plains where the waters have risen to the height of about a 
yard, and where in and among the blades of grass every kind of fish 
has come to feed and disport itself after so many months passed in the 
bed of the river. Here they are knocked over with the cudgels — for 
morocot (payara), bagre, and cachama (G, i, 287). In the Pom- 
eroon, during the dry season wlien the rivers are low the Indians 
will take a torch at night and chop the sleeping fish with a cutlass. 


The water will be about 8 or 10 inches deep, and the fish, lying close 
to the bottom either alongside or at right angles to a log or l)ank. 
Huri {Hopluts malabarlcu^s) , etc., are easily caught in this manner. 
On the Moruca River, when the first showers take place after the drj- 
season, the yarrau ( ? HypoHtoiym, Doras) makes its way to the 
savanna, where it is especially sought after and chopped. 

191. Hook and line. — Wallace, who traversed the area of the 
Amazon stream in the middle of last century, mentions the use of rod- 
and line by the Indians who consume an enormous quantity of hooks. 
There are probably not less than 100,000 fishhooks sold every year in 
the River Uaupes: yet there are still to be found among them many of 
their own hooks, ingeniously made of palm spines (ARW, 339). The 
Carib Islanders, from a description given two and a half centuries 
ago, are said to have been wonderfully expert at fishing with the 
hook (RO. 506). On the Orinoco. Gumilla talks of laulao (low- 
low, SUurus sp.), being caught with a large and strong hook (G, r, 
289), while in British Guiana within recent times there is the record 
of Indian fishhooks from Esseqiiibo River being shown at the London 
International Exhibition of 1862 (CC, 51), and the mention (IT, 
238) of most beautifully finished hooks of large size, 2 to 4 inches, 
being made by the Indians themselves . . . for low-low and 
arapaima {Sudis glgas). In all probability these larger hooks were 
made of pointed sticks tied at their center with a string similar to 
those we know to have been employed for alligator (sec. 217). At 
the present day the Waiwai, Parikuta, and Maopidyan use a similar 
small pencil, not necessarily pointed at the ends, and tied at the 
center to which the bait is attached. After swallowing, the stick is 
transfixed by pulling (-10). The Arawak speak of the hook as 
budehi, a term indicating any hooked or forked stick. Certain old 
Warrau have made me similar single and crossed double-pointed 
wooden pencil fishhooks identical with what they remember having 
seen and used in their early boyhood days (pi. 46). The hook and 
line may be used in various ways. Thus on Vituni Creek Dance men- 
tions how a stout cord having several fishing lines, with hooks baited, 
and with a weight attached to one end. is let down into the water, and 
the other end tied to a small raft of floating wood. The motion of 
the raft up or down the river is the signal of a fish caught by one of 
the hooks. Low-low of several hundred pounds' weight are fre- 
quently thus caught (Da, 48). Instead of rafts, the Warrau in the 
Pomeroon district employ emptied calabashes for floats (sec. 449). 

192. Among the plant baits brought into requisition with hooks 
may be mentioned the flower of the large white water lily, crab-wood 
seed, guava, the green pulp of the calabash fruit (Da, 95), berries of 
the common calaloo (BB, -251) aramatta seeds (sec. 188) for morokot. 




lana for pacu: the last mentioned, on the Rupununi, will even take a 
hook so baited in the rainy season. June and July. The Taruma spe- 
cially cultivate in their fields particular seeds for fish bait alone (JO). 
A bunch of silk grass has also been mentioned as being- made up into an 
artificial-fly bait for lukunanni. but the context (BB. 3-1:3) is not too 
clear as to whether this was made by Indians or Negroes. I have seen 
the imopened bud of the white water lily flower quartered and cut into 
■a •• fly " for lukunanni in the Pomeroon area (fig. 60 A), but this fish 
would not seem to be very particular, because it will often take an 
elongate bait, somewhat after the shape of a wooden bootjack, made 
from moku-moku (B). TVapishana will catch it with red macaw 
feathers tied to the hook (JO). 

193. Finally, there comes the application of the hook for purposes 
of "jagging." Thus the following is an interesting description of 

the practice on the Demerara. An Indian 
in a woodskin was beating the surface of 
the water with a short stick held in his 
right hand, while in his left he held his 
IJaddle, controlling the craft. Suddenly 
he stood up and, picking up an arrow, made 
a lunge with it at something in the water, 
and drew out a long, brown, snake-like fish 
called jukunuri or eucanuri, nearly 4 feet 
long. It would seem that these fish swarm 
at various bends of the river in certain 
seasons of the year. The Indian comes to 
such spots with his short rod, barely 3 
feet long, to the extremity of which is at- 
tached a line on which are fixed several 
He uses no bait, but lashing the surface 
of the water "to excite the curiosity of the fish," he every now and 
again jerks his line liigh out of the water, and in 1 case out of 10 man- 
ages to impale a yukunuri on one or more of the hooks (V. Both). 
This lashing of the water with a rod, when used at all with 
a line, has been specially drawn attention to by Schomburgk on the 
Essequibo. He considers that the fish regard this commotion on the 
surface of the water as resultitig from the falling of overhanging 
fruits, at which they will greedily rise to snap (SR, i, 307). This 
is not quite correct. It is certainly the lashing sound that attracts 
the carnivorous fish, but the simple, single "blob" only that draws 
the fruit-eating ones (JO). The Arekuna pursue the same jaractice 
of lashing the water with a rod. The surprise I myself experienced 
on first learning how fish can be attracted by sound has been shared 
b}' other observers, for it certainly was a canon of successful angling 
on any streams in the homeland that silence was golden and that 


6u. — • Plies " 

for luku- 

larofe hooks at intervals. 


even the slightest noise or ripple on the water was prejudicial to a 
catch. Here in the Guiana creeks, on the other hand, it is of advan- 
tage every now and again to lash the water with the rod. presumably 
for the reasons just stated. The usual fish rod is generally made of 
iancewood or yarri-yarri (A7ia,ra(/orea sp.). 

194. The simplest fomi of cylinder fall trap for fish, for catching 
haimara. is most ingenious and consists generally of a cylinder made 
of bark, or frequently of the branch of a trumjiet tree (Cecropia pel- 
tata), which is hollowed out. The cylinder is about 5 feet long and 
from 6 to 7 inches in diameter. The lower end is stopped up and a 
live fish fastened to the bottom. It is now tied horizontally to a tree 
which stands on the bank of the river and kept about 2 feet below the 
surface. The haimara. attracted by the bait, enters the cylinder, but 
scarcely has it put its head bejond the center when the lower end of 
the cylindei- sinks, and the fish, being inclosed with its head down- 
ward, can not make its escape and is secured (ScK. 255). The cylin- 
der fall trap (pi. 43, fig. 1, A) of the Aiawak and WaiTau on the 
Pomeroon and Moruca is called ku-yamma, after the tree whence 
the cylinder (a) is obtained, this lieing a length of bark removed 
whole, after tapping, by slipping it from off the subjacent wood. 
Tlie length of cylinder to be employed is gauged from the ground 
to the hunter's hip with a natural internal diameter of fi-om 
4 to 6 inches: its upper extremity is made to terminate in two points 
by means of curved cuts on opposite sides. Vertically below each 
pointed extremity and on a level inferior to the lower limits of the 
cuts, there is drilled a hole, through which are passed the supporting 
bark strip and a cross stick. This flat strip of a strong bark is tied 
below on the outside of the cylinder and looped above (B) onto the 
pointed pencil shaped trigger (h). The idea of the cross stick is 
to minimize the chances of any fish, when once caught in the cylin- 
der, jumping up. knocking off the weight (to be presently described), 
and so making its escape. The bait is fixed onto the looped ex- 
tremity of a piece of itiriti strand (C). which is gripped above in 
the split center of the key x:)in (e). The bait strand is always made of 
this material, and never of twine, which would twist, curl up. and 
stick to the underside of the cylinder when immersed in water. The 
frame or scaffolding consists of two sticks (A, d), split above on 
their sides to hold the crossbar upon which the cylinder hangs, 
and tied below with a bark sti-ap. These uprights are never forked 
to support the crossbar, but are always gimple and split like 
this, so as to allow of the crossbar being maintained in any posi- 
tion whereby the bark strap below may be rendered taut. To set 
the trap, which is employed in the shallow waters of a sluggish 
side sti-eam or of the bush savannas, the framework is first of all 
firmly fixed, the crossbar wedged in at such a height that the lower 


extremity of the cylinder, which is about to be suspended from it. 
is at a distance of a man's foot length from off the muddy, etc., 
bottom. Having passed the bait strand down the cylinder, the latter 
can now be hung from the crossbar by raising the tapering extrem- 
ity of the trigger over it from behind, and maintaining it in position 
by means of the key pin placed at right angles Ijetween it and the 
two portions of bark striji. The bait strand is so arranged that the 
bait hangs inside at the same distance above the lower edge of the 
cylinder as tlie latter does from the bottom. Tiie liark strap is next 
tied around tiie two uprights just taut enough to prevent the cylinder 
swinging to and fro, but loose enough to allow of its slipping ver- 
tically, the necessary degree being obtained by varying the position 
of the crossbar in the splits. A weight, in the form of a small log 
of comparatively heavy wood, to steady the whole affair is finally 
placed across the mouth of the cylinder. Entering from below, the 
fish gi-abs at the bait, pulls and j^ulls at it until the key pin slips 
down below the tip of the trigger, which, now released, allows the cyl- 
inder with its added weight to suddenly drop and so and cap- 
ture it. The bait n.sed varies according to whether the trap is set at 
niglit or day. In the former case a fish bait is employed for imiri or 
lukuluku (snake fish), and a bird bait for imri or huri. In the latter 
case, a piece of lukuluku is almost a certainty for yarrau (WEE. iv). 
195. Spring hooks, in many cases with inadequate descriptions, are 
recorded from west to east of the Guianas, mostly, perhaps, among 
the coastal tribes. Tlieir most important objective is to keep the fish 
once hooked above the water surface out of reach of their natural 
enemies (e. g., pirai), who otherwise would quickly make a meal of 
it. In one special trap (sec. 200) tlie voracity of other fish is pre- 
vented taking effect by the closure of the movable door, with 
which the creel, fixed under water, is provided. On the Berbice the 
flexible rod, the spring which locks the contrivance, was known 
as the fish hammock (Da, 19). The simplest form of spring hook 
would appear to come from the Pomeroon Eiver Indians, who take 
an elastic and tough stick, of the thickness of a finger, to the thinner 
end of which a hook is attached, while the thicker end is driven in the 
bank of the river or pevliaps tied to the branch or root of a tree 
under water. Just somewhat below the surface of the water a notch 
is made in the stick, and a similar notch at the thinner end where the 
hook is attached. The stick is now bent, and l)y means of the two 
notches it is kept in that situation, the liook and bait being a little 
tinder the water; but scarcely is it touched l)y the fish in its eagerness 
to seize the seducing morsel, when it is not only hooked but, in conse- 
quence of the jerk, the notches part from each other, and the fish is 
drawn by the elasticity of the rod out of its element, and there it 

















Fig. I. Spring hooks of the Pomeroon. With F-shape c:ilch. A, B; nilhoul 
il, C, D. b, trijjger; c, spring; d, strong support; e, key-pin. 

Fig. 2. Manner of catching fish by spring hook [A) and spring hasket (^),- 
Surinam, f, trigger; e, spring; rf, frame; e, key. pin. 



AlflMAL FOOD ' 197 

hangs until it is secured by the fisherman (SE. ii, 424). A very early 
type of compound sprino: hook is reported from Cayenne (pi. 47 A), 
where the rod is locked by an inverted L-shaped arrangement (Cr, 

190. The triangle spring hook of the Pomeroon district Arawak, 
Warrau, and. during recent years only, of the Carib (pi. 43, fig. 2), is 
called allausa by the first named. It consists of a triangle, its firmly 
fixed support (d), a bait string, and a spring (c). The triangle, or 
" wife," consists of a thick bar or pencil about 6 inches long attached 
at its extremities to a piece of twine, the central portion of which is 
looped onto the strong support. For a reason which I have not 
had sufficiently explained, the middle third of the bar is always 
either painted black or has its bark intact. The bait string is looped 
above onto a trigger {h). and a few inches below it onto a key pin (e). 
After fixing the spring firmly into the mud, sand, etc., and attaching 
the bait string to its extremity, the trap is set by bending the spring 
well over, drawing the trigger from behind and imder the bar of 
the triangle, and keeping its tapering extremity in position by means 
of the key pin placed at right angles between it and the two por- 
tions of twine. The hook is so arranged that it hangs about the 
length of a man's foot from the bottom. The fish pulling on the bait 
gradually drags the key pin farther and farther down until at length, 
with the release of the trigger, it is shot up with the rebounding 
spring to dangle above the water surface. Used at night in the river 
bends, with a fish bait, for catching huri (WER, iv). On the Esse- 
quibo, at Rockstone, I have seen the support and two sides of the tri- 
angle replaced by a firmly planted forked stick, the pencil of the 
triangle being substituted by a strong piece of wood tied across the 
tops of the fork prongs. 

197. The Pomeroon Arawak and Carib will substitute an F-.shaped 
piece of wood (pi. 45, fig. 1, A, B) for the triangle and bait with 
meat by day as well as by night for hainiaia. 

198. Again, the Pomeroon Arawak will often discard triangle and 
F-piece and lock the trap (C) by means of the trigger (h) attached 
now to the strong immovable support (<7). The most delicate ar- 
rangement of all (D), however, is where the bait string is attached 
direct to the end of the spring, the key pin (e) remaining independent 
of it (d). The hunter has to exercise great care when setting this 
trap, lest the spring should unexpectedly slip (WEE, iv). 

199. In Surinam there was used a square frame (pi. 45, fig. 2 A, 
B; pi. 47 C) formed of two vertical posts (d) fixed by a crosspiece 
firmly attached to their tops. With the one extremity of the trigger 
(b) pressing against the crosspiece and its other against the key pin 
(e) it keeps the latter in place parallel with and below the crosspiece. 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

So soon as the fish is hooked and drags upon the spring (e) the pull on 
the trigger is relaxed, the key pin falls, the trigger is released, the 
spring rises, and the victim is drawn out of the water. 

200. A modification of this form of spring trap is adopted with 
certain creels having a movable door (pi. 45, fig. 2 B), described 
and figured by Stednian (jd. 47 B) ; also from Surinam. He speaks 
of it as the niansoa or spring basket (St, ii, 227), but perhaps it may 
be of African introduction. Maswali or maschoa is the common 
Creole designation for all the simpler forms of creel. Hei-e the bait 
string attached to the trigger leads to the inside of the basket, which 
is a fixture. Entering the trap, the fish takes the bait, draws on the 
bait string, and loosens the trigger, with the result that the key pin 
falls, the trigger is released, and the spring rising closes the creel 
door. In the Parikuta spring creels (sec. 20.5) the basket, with its 

contained fish, is lifted bodily out 
of the water. 

201. Fishing nets wei'e ai)j)ar- 
ently unknown, oi', if they were, 
do not seem to have been reported 
in Surinam (AK, 18'8) and 
Cayenne (PBA, 157-158). The 
Arekmia, Wapishana (tsa-tsairu), 
Makusi (pen-durr), and Pata- 
mona employ small oval dip nets 
for collecting the fish, when, after 
being poisoned, they rise to the 
surface (pi. 48 D) . These nets are woven of kuraua fiber on the same 
pattern as the ordinary English fish net. The only instance in which 
Schomburgk saw Indians of the interior make use of a net was among 
the Arekuna, who called it pente, with which they secured a number of 
smaller fish, perhai^s 3 to 4 inches in length, which bury themselves in 
holes in the banks of the rivers. They knock with the net at the hole, 
and the alarmed fish rushes out into the net (ScK, 112). It would 
seem, however, that it was in the area of the Rio Negro that the net 
reached its highest development. Thus, among the Uaupes River In- 
dians the hand nets used for catching fish are of two kinds — a small 
ring net, like a landing net, and one spread between two slender sticks, 
like the large folding nets of entomologists. These are nuich used in 
the rapids and among rocks and eddies, and numbers of fish are caught 
with them (ARW, 339) . Illustrations of these nets are given (KG, ii, 
37, etc.). From their examination (pi. 48 A, B) it would apj^ear that 
the larger are manufactured with a flat netting stick on the same ^lat- 
tern as the European fish net, while certain of the smaller ones are 


til. — C'haiij-patterii fish net 
the Uaupes River. 







A, Roucouyenne spring hook fur fish. (After Crevaux.) 

B, Manner of catching fish by the spring basket. Surinam. (After Stodmaa.) 

C, Catching fish with the spring hook. Surinam. (After Stedraau.) 






-1 , J?, C, Fish nets of the Uaupcs Eivcr ludians. C, Represents a continuous chain pattern; the others are of tlic 
ordinarj' European Hsh-net type. D, Dip nets tor coUeeting the flsh after being poisoned. (After Koch-Grunberg.) 



A, B, Fish weir, Upper Eio Negro. (After Koch-Griinbcrg.) C, Basket for ealeliiiig fish in very 

shallow water or mud. 


woven without a stick, on a ditlerent mesh (tig. 61). A conical shaped 
hiniling net or basket net, made of phiited itiriti strantls attached to 
a long handle, is used by the Pomeroon Carib, Warrau, Akawai. and 
Arawak for bringing the fish up to the surface after being poisoned 
(sec. 423). Hilliouse has drawn attention to its use (HiA, 38). 

203. Dams may be constructed of varying complexity with a view 
to inclosing an area of water, which may then be bailed out, and the 
fish caught. Thus, Indians will dam up a shallow portion of the 
swamp and bail the water out in their calabashes. For this 
purpose they all stand in a row with their backs to the dam 
and throw the water with incredible swiftness in between their feet 
backward over the dam (SR, i, 408). Schomburgk mentions a modi- 
fication in the modus operandi of the dam as practiced by an old 
Makusi woman on the lower Rupununi. The brook Curassawaak 
was at a low level, and we observed, he notes, that she had her 
corial drawn across the stream and had closed every opening still 
left with rocks and dry branches. The place selected for the purpose 
was where the brook widened farther upward. The fish, on their 
passage down, finding the communication stopped, attempted to 
jump over the impediment laid in their way. but failing, they fell 
into the corial (ScG, 260). In the neighborhood of the falls on the 
upper Essequibo, and on the Corentyn, the pacu chooses certain sleep- 
ing places in shallow, swiftly running water. Having found such a 
spot, the Indians will gradually surround it with a stone dam, about 
3 feet high, though sometimes higher, composed of big blocks of rock, 
the interstices of which are filled up with smaller ones, though none 
of the stones employed are, roughly speaking, less than a man's head. 
The work of construction is carried on during the daytime and may 
take two or three days to build, and tlie opening daily narrowed 
more and more until, when all is ready, and the Indians are con- 
vinced that many pacu ai-e within, it is finally closed during the 
nighttime, when the fish can easily be caught (JO). A reference 
to such structures is to be found in the British Colonial Library 
(BCL, 114). Somewhat similar but temjiorary stone dams are erected 
for poisoning the same fish (sec. 210). 

203. Weirs and fences. — The Indian will stop the mouth of the 
creek which opens into the river by fences, leaving a small opening 
about 4 feet broad. During the flood tide the fish pass into the creek 
in search of food. As soon as the ebb begins the Indian stops this 
outlet to prevent the return of the fish, which at low water are seen 
lying on the mud (Bol, 160) . A palm named kiragha may be utilized 
for the fencing (ScK, 34). The portion of fence limiting ingress 
and egress may be replaced by a more or less i^ermanent door. Thus, 
in Surinam, the contrivance consists simply of a kind of square in- 


closure that juts out into the river, surrounded by long palisades of 
the manicol tree, tied very closely together by nebis (" bush rope "). 
In this fence is a large door, which is left open with the flood, and 
shut at high water, to prevent the inclosed fish from escaping (St, 
I, 374). Sometimes the door may be in the form of a "Venetian 
blind " (Kd, ii, 46). On the Orinoco, judging from the descriptions 
left us by Gumilla, some of these fences must have been of consider- 
able size and strength. Being only employed with the receding 
waters to block the fish coming down the stream, they are built 
from bank to bank without any doors or intermediate free spaces. 
The Indians take note of the channels leading from the large lakes 
into the rivers, and block them with thick stakes, crossbeams, and 
supports, the whole village lending assistance with the work. As the 
turtle, laulao (up to 50 and 75 pounds) and manati (from 500 to 
750 pounds) come down from the lakes, whither, with the rising 
waters, they went in search of fresh food, they are blocked by these 
fences. Notwithstanding the great strength of these structures, it is 
lucky if they have not to be repaired two or three times a year, so 
great is the impact of the shoals of fish, turtle, and manati running 
against them (G, i, 281-282). Similar contrivances (pi. 49 A, B) are 
recorded by Wallace and others (KG, ii, 42-43) from the upper Eio 
Negro, where, among the Uaupes River Indians, the fish weirs were 
known as cacoaris. 

204. Creels, cages. — Cone-shaped wicker baskets, or reels, are met 
with from the Orinoco and Rio Negro into Surinam. Indeed, fish- 
ing with them is said to be practiced along the whole Guiana coast 
(DF, 226). The Adole Indians, some 50 leagues up the Orinoco from 
the River Meta, fi.x large baskets in places where side streams leaid 
fiom the main channel, etc. These wicker baskets are woven from 
a kind of ozier twig, which is long and flexible and called bejuco, 
making them 2 yards (varm) deep and 1^ yards wide at the mouth. 
Attached to them are many strong rope handles in correspondence 
with the weight they have to support antl the knocking about to 
which they are exposed (G, i, 291). The Uaupes River Indians, 
among their many other methods of catching fish, use a small cone 
of wicker, called a matapi, which is jjlaced in some little current 
in the gapo. The larger end is entirely open. . . . Other matapis 
are larger and more cylindrical, with a reversed conical mouth, as 
in our wire rat traps (sec. 421), to prevent the return of the fish 
(ARW, 339-340). Illustrations of these creels or weir baskets 
(KG, II, 41) are furnished (pis. 50 A, B; 108 A). As already men- 
tioned, the simpler forms are generallj"^ employed in connection with 
weirs or fences stretched across the creeks, being fixed over the gaps 
left here and there in the fencing (AK, 277). Those that are con- 
structed with noninclosed smaller ends are stuffed with leaves, etc.. 



.4. B, Creels from the Uaunes River rli<lrict. .-1, For smaller fish; B, for larger ones. 
N'ote the continuous weft in the former, and the multiiile ones in the latter, (.\fter 
Koch-Griinberg.) C, Basket for small fish. Eio Caiary. (After Koch-Grunberg.) 


A. Net basket lur crabs. Aiaiy Kivor. (Alter Jvoch-Gruiiherg.) 

^, Cassava juice forced by liani pressure through a circular sifter, 
in place of a matapi. I^aupcs River district. (After Koch- 



before setting. To get the fisli out whenever caught, these are re- 
moved. Occasionally these baskets may be employed with a mov- 
able door worked by a spring (sec. ^00). An unusual form of 
" basket " of a rolled cylindrical shape (KG, ii, 43-44) comes from 
the Kio Caiary, a branch of the Uaupes (pi. 50 C), where it is eni- 
ploj'cd in the capture of the smaller-sized fish. The hassa fish can 
be caught in an ordinary basket as it rushes out of its " nest " when 
danger threatens its young (SR. ii. 411, 412). 

205. The Parikuta and Waiwai employ a basket trap, known as 
the kanima, on lines indicated by the accompanying diagram (fig. 
62). The basket, from 2 J to 3 feet long, is suspended under water 
more or less horizontally and maintarned in position against the 
crutch of two sticks fixed at an angle into the water bottom. The 

E^G. 62. — Diagram to show mechanism of fish spring-ljasket trap of the Waiwai. 

suspension of the basket is effected by means of (a) a strong bush 
roiDe attaclied on either side of the basket mouth and at the center 
by means of a clove hitch to the tip of the spring; and {b) a delicate 
vine rope attached at its center to the bait, with its ends passing 
through the wickerwork of the basket and tied to the spring at some 
distance below the other one. The fish upon entering the basket 
and attacking the bait bursts the vine rope, with the result that, the 
spring now freed, the basket (with its contained fish) is jerked out 
of the water and kept out of reach of the pirai, etc. The mouth of 
the trap must be downstream (JO). 

206. The Wapishana and Makusi use an open-mouth basket (pi. 
49 C) made of kokerit to throw over the fish in very shallow water 
or mud. The creature is then caught by the hand, inserted from 
above. The former tribe speak of it as du-m, the latter as tu-mu. 
00160°— 24 14 


207. Puddling is practiced by the Wapishana. They will drag a 
savanna tree (e. g., the " sandpaper " or curatella) backward and 
forward across a pool, and by so muddying the water force the fish to 
the surface (JO). 

208. Many of the vegetable poisons for catching fish — a practice 
which extended even out into the islands (RO, 507) can not. unfor- 
tunately, now be identified, the particular names handed down to us 
being more or less colloquial. But, whatever the j^oison, it must be re- 
membered that some fish may remain immune from a kind which 
affects others (SR, i, 408 ; ii, 153). Schombnrgk has pointed out that 
these poisons not only affect the respiratory but also the nervous sys- 
tem, in that the fish's pupils are generally widely dilated (SR, i, 408). 
Kappler drew attention to the fact that crabs and crayfish are affected 
by the Lonchocarpns jwison (AK, 190). Timbo is the lingua geral 
and barbasco the Spanish term for vegetable poisons in general. On 
the upper Rio Negro these would include species of Paullinia and 
Serjania (KG, n, 49). 

209. Among those plants that I have been unable to scientifically 
identify are the cuna and bascara of the Orinoco, the liane of the 
Corentyn, and the sinapou of Cayenne. Cuna, writes Gumilla. 
grows after the style of lucerne (alfalfa) and produces a root simi- 
lar to rape (nabos), except in color and taste. These roots, pounded 
and washed in water, have so strong an odor as to intoxicate and 
stupefy the fish, which can then be seized by hand. Others which 
manage to escape upstream are knocked over with sticks by a row, 
of Indians waiting for the purpose; while those that rush down- 
stream are intercepted by a fence placed in suitable position, and if 
they try to jump it they fall onto a large frame fixed on top. An- 
other method of using it is to make a dough of pounded, cooked 
maize, and another of similar material but mixed with some of the 
root. Proceeding to a neighboring stream, the Indians will scatter 
in it some of the harmless mixture and so attract a number of me- 
dium-sized fish. They will then throw in the poisoned mass, while 
at the same time the children, each with its basket, enter the water 
some 4 paces lower down. The fish are stupefied, and so carried 
downstream and picked up at leisure (G, i, 282). Bascara is an- 
other poison root. It is of the same color and make as a vine stem, 
and used in the same manner as the cuna — i. e., pounded and washed 
in water (G, i, 282). The nebi ("bush rope"), called liane, has the 
same property of stupefying fish [as the Lovchocar/n/.t], but its effect 
is not nearly so strong (StC, i, 318-319). Chips from the trunk 
of the moraballi (?) are said to be used by Arawak on the Esse- 
quibo coast, and the roots of the sinapou have been reported from 
Cayenne (PBA, 157-158; Cr, 45). Wild agave (?) seeds have been 
mentioned to me as a fish poison on the Demerara River. 


310. The following are certain of the fish poisons that have been 
identified: Lonchocarpus of various species (e. g., denslflorus. rti- 
fescens). It is known as haiari, heri, or nako (StC, i, 318-319), 
as nekko in Surinam (AK, 189). apparently identical with the 
Rohinia nicou (Cr. 45). or inekou. of Cayenne (PBA, 157-158). 
One of the earliest descriptions of its jDractical application is written 
by Hilhouse in connection with the catching of the pacu. The pacu 
is generally taken with haiari in the following manner : The Indians 
select a part of the falls where the weya, an aquatic vegetable eaten 
by the pacu and other fish, is plentiful and traces are visible of the 
pacu, M'hich is gregarious, having lately fed. They then enclose 
this place with a wall of loose stones, a foot above the surface of the 
water, leaving two or three spaces about 10 feet broad for the fish 
to enter. For these spices they prepare parrys, or wooden hurdles, 
and about two hours before daybreak they proceed silently to stop 
the apertures with them. The fish are thus inclosed in a temporary 
pond, which is inspected at daybreak, and if they are found to be in 
sufficient number to pay for the haiari they commence beating it. 
. . . They beat it (these haiari roots are about 3 inches in diam- 
eter) with heavy sticks until it is in shreds like coarse hemp. They 
then fill a corial with water and immerse the haiari in it. The water 
immediately becomes of a milky whiteness, and when fully saturated 
they take the corial to the spot they have selected, and throwing 
over the infusion, in about 20 minutes every fish within its influence 
rises to the surface and is either taken by the hand or shot with 
arrow (HiA, 30). Certain of the stone dams mentioned in section 
202 may have been employed for '' poison " purposes. The haiari 
can also be used in any inclosed piece of water, in ponds after the 
inlets have been stopped (RW. 155), or in a small stream, at the turn 
of the tide when there is little or no current (Br, 143). Dance men- 
tions three kinds of haiari bush rope — a white, red, and black 
(Da. 332). 

211. Clihadlum., various species; e. g., aspeniin, surinamense ; also 
known as quanami (BE, 39), gonami (HiC, 237), conami (Cr, 45; 
AK, 189; PBA, 157-158: IT, 234), Ivonami or kunami (Da, 212), and 
on the Pomeroon as kunalli. Whereas Schomburgk, Dance, and 
Bernau speak of the leaves being jnit to use, as I have myself ob- 
served, Im Thuni and Barrere refer to the employment of its seeds 
and fruit. The small shallow pits, wherein the leaves have been 
pounded, are much in evidence around the dwellings of the upper 
Pomeroon and Moruca River Carib. After pounding they chop the 
leaves to a pulp, mix with finely cut flesh, and make up into small 
balls, which are thi'own into the water as bait. It is greedily 
swallowed by one species of fish (the Leporinus f rid end Agassiz). 
which, coming to the surface, dies (SE, ii, 434). On the Demerara a 


few leaves of the cumapuru briiised with the leaves of the kunami 
shrub and the dried light pericarp of the arisauru {Pterocarpus 
guianensis Aiibl.). to give buoyancy to the mass, are the ingredients 
of the floating pills cast into the river along with pills of dough to 
tempt the greed of the fishes and to paralj-ze and kill them (Da, 
212). So, again, Indians will catch the larger kind of grasshopper, 
and having extracted the inside fill tlie belly of the insect with the 
quanami, a strong narcotic i^lant, the leaves of which they make into 
a paste and throw it into the river. The fish has no sooner swallowed 
its prey than it begins to feel the effects of the poison and in a few 
seconds expires, floating on the surface of the water (BE, 39). But, 
on the other hand, independently of any actual bait, the water itself 
may be " poisoned " with the Clibadium on similar lines as the 

212. Te-phros'ia toxicaria Pers. is employed by the Makusi Indians, 
who call it yarro-conalli, for poisoning the j'arro (yarrau), which is 
not stupefied by the milky juice of the haiari (SR, ii, 153). [Strange 
to say, a fish poison of the same genus is employed by the North 
Queensland blacks.] 

213. Phyllanthis conami Sw., recorded by Schomburgk (SR, i, 
347-348), and other species, are known as cumapuru (Da, 212), kuna- 
puru (Mak.), or cunaparu (J. Rodway). I take it to be identical 
with the gunapulu (of Surinam) noted by Kappler (AK, 189), the 
konabaro of the Arawak, the aru-arani of the Warrau. The two 
latter nations employ it as follows: After the flowers have blos- 
somed, the leaves are said to be "stronger," and they are then very 
tightly packed into a " crab " or manicol-leaf quake. If in running 
water, this is fixed with a stake pierced through it and so held with the 
one hand just above the water. By means of a pointed stick, grasped 
in the other hand, the leaves are all " jerked " until the whole basket 
is broken away, the milky juice being at the same time expressed 
from the leaves. It is said to be a very powerful poison. If in a 
pond, the leaves are not pinned with any stake, but just jerked as 

214. MitUe)'amonilifo7-?nis, the (?) haiari-balli of the Arawak, has 
been mentioned as a fish poison (IT, 234), but the statement is cer- 
tainly denied at the present time by members of this nation on the 
Pomeroon and Moruca. 

215. On the Amazons the Indians catch the full-grown turtles with 
the hook, net, or arrow. The last is the most ingenious method and 
requires the most skill. The turtle never shows its back above water, 
only rising to breathe, which it does by protruding its nostrils almost 
imperceptibly above the surface. The Indian's keen eyes perceive 
this, even at a considerable distance, but an arrow shot obliquely 


woukl glance off the smooth flat shell, so he shoots up into the air with 
such accurate judpfment that the arrow falls nearly vertically upon 
the shell, which it penetrates, and remains securely fixed in the tur- 
tle's back. The head of the arrow comes off its light shaft, to which 
it is attached by line, and the shaft floats on the surface, etc. (ARW, 
324) . This shooting of the arrow into the air. practiced also in the 
Guianas. is mentioned in some of the Indian legends (WER, \^, 
sees. 30, 14.1, 330). Gumilla has recorded how, on the Orinoco, the 
Otoniac will dive after a turtle in the water, turn it over, and, sup- 
porting it with one hand, will bring it to the bank with the other 
hand and his feet (G. i. 180). A similar statement is nuide by Bates 
from the lower Amazon. It is said that the Muras dive after turtles, 
and succeed in catching them by the legs (HWB, 168). In addition, 
turtles on reaching shore may be sneaked upon by the hunters. Thus, 
on the Essequibo, if the Indians wish to catch the creature itself, they 
bury tliemselves in the sand at a considerable distance from the water, 
and when it is nearest they suddenly arise and give it chase. When 
they have overtaken it they turn it up, and, fastening two sticks in 
the apertures of the head and hind parts, leave it there until morning 
(BE, 168). Humboldt records the following: Jaguars , . . follow 
the arraus (large fresh-water turtle) toward those places on the1)eacli 
where the eggs are laid. They surprise the arraus on the sand, and 
in order to devour them at tlieir ease, turn them in such a manner 
that the undershell is uppermost. In this situation the turtles can 
not, and as the jaguar turns many, more than he can eat in one 
night, the Indians often avail themselves of his cunning and avidity 
(AYH, IT, 192). An unusual method of capturing toi-toise with dogs 
is mentioned from the upper Rupununi at Annai village, where 
B. Brown speaks of being shown a pen or crawl full of toitoises, 
all of which had been procured hj the aid of a small black and white 
dog belonging to an Indian. This dog, when taken into the foi-est, set 
to work to search by scent for tortoises, and as they are very numer- 
ous it would trace out numbers of them in a day, thus keeping its 
master well supplied with these animals (BB, 146). Indications on 
the surface sand will lead the Indian to the underground nests, but 
these are not seldom found to be already robbed of their eggs by the 
jaguar and certain hawks. 

216. Schomburgk describes how, even when the river current often 
carried him and his crew with the gi-eatest swiftness, his Carib 
seldom missed their aim with bow and arrow at the poor iguana 
{Iguana delicatissima) feeding on the leaves of some favorite tree 
or lurking for in.sects (ScG, 273), On the Cuyuni, Brown says that 
his men and the Indians had a most cruel way of preventing cap- 
tured iguanas from escaping by slitting down the side of two fore 



[ETH. ANN. 83 

and two hind toes on opjDosite feet, und passing the toes between the 
bone and sinew in such a manner that they could not be disengaged. . . . 
The manner in which they were slaughtered, viz, by inserting a hard 
pointed stick up one nostril into the brain, was also a very cruel 
proceeding (BB, 14). Iguana eggs {Iguana tubtrculata Laur.) are 
eaten (SE. i, 303; ii, 171: ScO. 47). It was Carib who caught 
lizards of a peculiar kind, with slipknots at the end of sticks, and 
placed them in baskets, previous to feeding on them when a sufficient 
quantity had been obtained (BE, 179). On the Pomeroon I have 
seen a trap (fig. 63) used by Portuguese and blacks for catching the 

iguana that prove very destruc- 
tive to their fowls, but whether it 
is of mixed Negi'o or pure Indian 
origin I can not say. At the 
mouth of a small inclosure, made 
of closely apjiosed twigs stuck 
firmly into the ground, is fixed a 
frame, by means of which a trigger, 
attached to a spring, holds the key 
pin in check. Attracted by the bait 
inside, usually a fowl egg, the sala- 
l^enta has to pass through the run- 
ning noose attached to the trigger, 
and while doing so presses on the 
key pin; this releases the trigger, 
the spring flies back, and the noose, 
now tightened, hoists the creature 
in mid-air. 

217. Alligators, or caymans, the 
name which the Indians gave them 
(St. 1, 145). form no unimportant 
item of the aboriginal larder, both 
flesh and eggs being much relished 
(AI^, 127). Schomburgk apparent!}' emphasizes the tail as being 
the part specially fancied by the upper Pomeroon Carib (SE, ii, 425). 
The following delightful account of the .capture of the reptile is 
given by Gumilla : The Otomac and Cluamo Indians, who eat the 
flesh as a delicacj% in wintertime and during the rise in the river, 
when fish are scarce, catch it as follows : They hunt it in pairs, with 
a strong rope of manati hide having a loop at its extremity. One 
man carries the rope and the other the end with the loop. Managing 
to approach the creature lying in the sun without being seen until 
it is just about to fall into the stream, the Indian who carries the loop 
will jump upon it in all security, because the animal can not turn its 
head to bite him nor fold up its tail to strike him. What with the 

TraiJ lor iguana. 


weiglit of the Indian on top. the cayman soon touches bottom, but not 
before the noose has been tightened around its jaws and three or four 
knots added for better security (G, ii, 223). The same author also 
reports the destruction of these creatures by poison. They are shot 
in pools with arrows made of poison bamboo (Caiia brava) ... a 
poison so formidable for caymans that however slightly tlie arrow 
pierces either the side of the shoulders or the eyes, the creatures will 
in a short while float to the surface dead (G, ii, 220). 

Reliable accounts show that alligators can also be caught with 
contrivances similar to the spring trap used for birds, though, of 
course, on a much larger scale, both in Cayenne (Cr, 265, 516) and 
on the upper Eio Negro (KG, i, 229). So also they may be caught 
with special hooks, single or multiple. Schomburgk describes one 
of the former in use among the Makusi on the Cotinga, where a 
hardwood stick, about a foot long and pointed at both ends, was 
tied at its middle to a rope and then bound round and round with 
strips of flesh so as to make it look like part and parcel of the rope, 
the other end of the rope being tied to a tree. A similar contrivance 
seems to have been employed on the Orinoco, where the double- 
pointed stick was known as the tolete (G. ii. 220). Waterton was 
the first to make mention of the use of multiple hooks on the Esse- 
quibo — a method which I have noticed as still existing among Caribon 
the ui>]3er Pomeroon. But let Waterton give the account in his own 
inimitable way : The day was now declining aj^ace, and the Indian had 
made his instrument for taking the cayman. It was very simple. 
There were four tough pieces of hardwood, a foot long and about as 
thick as your little finger and barbed at both ends. They were tied 
around the end of the rope in such a manner that if you conceive the 
rope to be an arrow, these four sticks would form the arrow's head, so 
that one end of the four united sticks answered to the point of the ar- 
rowhead while the other ends of the sticks expanded at equal distances 
round the rope (fig. 64). Now it is evident that if the cayman swal- 
lowed this — the other end of the rope, which was 30 j'ards long, being 
fastened to a tree — the more he pulled the faster the barbs would stick- 
into his stomach. This wooden hook, if you may so call it. was well 
baited with the flesh of the acouri, and the entrails were twisted 
round the rope for about a foot above it. Nearly a mile from where 
we had our hammocks the sand bank was steep and abrupt, and 
the river very still and deep. There the Indian pricked a stick into 
the sand. It was 2 feet long, and on its extremity was fixed the 
machine. It hung suspended about a foot from the water, and the 
end of the rope was made fast to a stake driven well into the sand. 
The Indian then took the empty shell of a land tortoise and gave 




it some heavy blows with an ax. I asked why he did that. He 
said it was to let the cayman hear that something was going on . . . 
(W, 262). 

218. Frogs and toads, as well as their larvae and eggs, constitute 
an equally interesting feature of the Indian menu. From Enaco 
village, toward the upper Potaro, B. Brown describes certain pits 
for trapping frogs in connection with a small, dry, circular pond, 
having its bottom all gi'ass covered. It was situated in a small clear- 
ing some 50 yards in diameter, and had evidently been artificially 
made. In the center of this the guide paused and directed my atten- 
tion to numbers of small circular pits that had been dug all over the 
bottom of the pond. These averaged from 3 to 6 feet in diameter 
and from 6 to 8 feet in depth. Leaning against a tree on one side was 
a bundle of sticks with slightly curved ends. Selecting one, the 

Fig. 6-i. — Multiple hook for alligator, (.\fter Waterton.l 

guide stooped down, and stirring up a large mass of gelatinous froth 
in the bottom of a pit, dislodged a small flesh-colored frog, which he 
tapped on the head. In the grass around the pits' mouths were also 
patches of tliis froth containing little white frogs' eggs about half 
the size of peas. These frogs are considered great delicacies by the 
Indians, and the pits are dug to entrap them when they come to the 
spot to deposit their eggs (BB, 196). After being gutted and pre- 
pared with the " butter " from turtles' eggs, certain frogs' larvae are 
eaten by Indians on the lower Amazon (S-M, in, 954). In Surinam, 
when meat and fish are scarce, the Trio eat toad eggs raw (GO, 5). 
219. Snakes. — Brett reports having seen a man creep on his hands 
and knees and capture a kolokonaro (land camudi) by means of 
a noose which he dropped over its head with a forked stick as it was 
raised to look at the intruder (Br, 19). Schomburgk speaks of his 
Indian servant throwing a rope sling over the head of a camudi, 16 


feet long (ScO, 219). I am in doubt as to whether snake flesh is 
ever eaten, even by Carib. 

220. Crabs are sought for particularly at those two seasons of the 
year when they are said to " march." As fast as they can be picked 
up on these occasions from the mud flats, etc., they are packed into 
quakes (baskets). Large parties of Indians will join in these expe- 
ditions. Roasting in the ashes is the usual preparation before eating, 
but it is not rare to see them eaten raw. They may also be caught 
in nets or in special baskets (pi. 51 A) on the upper Rio Negro (KG, 
II, 42). To understand the meaning of the crab's march, i. e., accord- 
ing to the belief and accounts given by the Warrau, it must be remem- 
bered that from January to June these luscious crustaceans are to be 
found only in their holes — one in each — along the mud flats of the 
Guiana coast line. They come out to feed at night, and their special 
food would appear to be the fallen seeds of the mangrove, the 
courida (Avicewnia) , and kai-ara. It is not known whether each re- 
turns to its own lurking place, but the Indians state that if a hole be 
emptied of its crab and visited a few days later, it will be found 
occupied. Crabs can only be dragged out of their holes with the 
naked hand during the course of the early morning, say, before 10 
o'clock, because, as the Warrau say, they " work with the sun " ; i. e., 
starting by lying on their stomachs, with claws down, they gradually 
turn over, and hj midday rest on their backs with claws up. In July, 
with the first low tide after full moon, the first " march " for the year 
takes place. The crabs, emerging from their holes at dead low tide, 
run down along the mud flats in shoals of thousands and thousands, 
pushing, edging off, biting, and fighting one another, all making for 
the water, and returning with the same washing tide. A similar 
procedure takes place at the next low tide. The object of the march 
is said to be the capture and impregnation of the female, whose eggs 
may now be said to be fertilized, and from this month onward until 
December the mudholes will be found occupied by two crabs — a male 
and a female. 

In August the chief march of the year takes place with the first 
three low tides after full moon, and it is especially in this month that 
the Indians from the upper reaches of the coastal rivers will come 
down for their share of the spoil. In September there may be four 
marches under similar conditions of moon and tide, but by this time 
the majority of the shellfish will have mated, and the numbers taking 
part in the march accordingly much fewer. So also in October there 
may be occasionally two final marches. About Christmas time the 
eggs are hatched, and now the tiny baby crabs will start burying 
themselves in the mud, and as they grow the size of the occupied holes 
becomes proportionately increased, and here they will remain in 


single blessedness until the followino; July, when the whole cycle of 
events already described once more takes its course. Schomburgk 
gives the scientific explanation of the so-called crab season (SR, ii, 

221. Mollusks. — The prett}' little periwinlcle {Nereis), judging 
from the heaps of them met with in the Pomeroon Carib middens, 
must have constituted a favorite article of diet in bygone days. It 
is still eaten. The large snails, Ampullaria urceus Fers (SE, i, 196) 
and A. ormoccensis Ziegler (SK, ii, 425), are noted as excellent pick- 
me-ups after a drunken orgie (sec. 281). 

222. Earthworms. — Wallace, when speaking of earthworms as food 
for the Uaupes Eiver Indians, says : " Nor is it only hunger that makes 
them eat these worms, for they sometimes boil them with their fish 
to give it an extra relish (ARW, 201). On Awarihuta Creek, which 
flows into the upper Parima, the Indians set to work assiduously 
to dig up the earth at the water's edge with long sticks, flattened at 
the end. ... I foimd (says Schomburgk) they were searching for 
large worms which lie concealed in the mud. They seemed to me 
like our Lumbneus, or rather Gordius, only much thicker. After 
washing off the mud the Indians ate them raw, and apparently with 
much delight. . . . On a small babracote we observed them smoking 
thousands of that species of worm which I have before described 
(ScF, 230-234). 

223. Schomburgk refers to the caterpillars of a butterfly, some- 
thing like our cabbage-white, being eaten (SE, ii, 158). He speaks 
of another caterj^illar, collected at the beginning of the wet season 
by the Makusi, which is considered an especial titbit by both old and 
young (SE, ir, 120). Some species of Sphinx caterpillars were eaten 
by the Indians after roasting (App, ii, 415). On the road to Karica- 
paru I watched the Makusi women and Patamona men eating the riku, 
the 4 to 4| inch long caterpillar found in clusters on the tnmk of the 
duru tree, a sort of " pump wood," an insect which ultimately, so the 
Indians say, develops into a yellow and green butterfly. It may be 
eaten raw in its entirety, after wrapping in a leaf and roasting, or it 
may be boiled in the " pepper pot." In the latter case the entrails are 
squeezed out behind previous to cooking. So, again, in the savannas 
on the way to Eoraima, the Makusi and Patamona collected among the 
grass a small caterpillar that was just about to enter on its pupal 
stage. This was during early July. The Makusi called it iki. It 
was eaten raw and apparently much relished. Quelch says that 
with the Arekuna a small red and black grasshopper, which is some- 
times met with in clusters on the low bushes, appears to be a very 
great delicacy when cooked (Ti, 1895, p. 152). In the neighbor- 
hood of Wailang Creek, on the Eoraima road, my Patamona guides 


collected a particular kind of gi'asshopper, the kairau, which they 
devoured raw. 

224. Among beetles, species of Passalu-s and Cassandra are con- 
sidered delicacies and eaten raw by the Wapishana of the Takufcu 
(SE. II. 58). The larvae of different weevils, as well as the beetles 
feeding on the water lily, are eaten by the Surinam Carib (AK. 
188). But the most important article of diet supplied by this class 
of insect is the grub of the C'alandra />almaru7n. known to the Creoles 
as the gru-gru. In Surinam it is called the cabbage-tree worm (St, 
II, 23). The Warrau speak of it as mo and the Arawak as oto- 
kuma. This Arawak name has nothing whatever to do with that 
of tabuka, the term applied to the heart of any hard-timbered wood, 
nor has the Warrau term any connection with that of the drink. 
"Warrau ohiju-hobi. derived from the mauritia palm {ef. IT, 267). 
To get this grub out of the ite palm, which has to be felled for the 
purpose, a hole some 6 inches in diameter is cut right down the 
heart at a distance of about 5 or 6 feet from the cut end. the dis- 
tance varying with the hardness or softness of the trunk, the former 
portion being useless. The beetle will enter here to lay its eggs, 
and the Indian will i-eturn in about a month or five weeks' time to 
remove the grubs, whicli are eaten. The beetle is not especially asso- 
ciated with this particular tree, except that for some reason or 
another more eggs (30 to 40) come to growth and maturity than 
with the turn {(Enacarpus), kokerit {MaximUiana), and many other 
palms, even the coconut, all of which must be previously felled to 
harbor the insect. In the case of the coconut, however, it must 
be noted that the incision is made just above where the nuts are 
borne. Splitting open the worms and baking them with boiled rice 
is mentioned by Duff as a favorite Indian dish (DF, 121). 

225. The winged females of the Atta [Oecodorrui] cephalotes, the 
kushi ant of the Creoles, when seeking new colonies, are much sought 
after, the abdomen being bitten off and eaten raw or cooked (SR. i, 
240) . "\Mien roasted or boiled they are considered a great delicacy by 
the Indians (ScE, 174). Gumilla speaks of the bodies of flying ants, 
in large quantity, being fried, the contained fat being sufficient with 
which to cook them (G, ii, 268). The Termes destructor are likewise 
eaten (SE, ii. 111, 112). On the Pomeroon the bodies of the female 
wood ants, which they call kukuli, are eaten by the Arawak. At 
Karakarang village, near the Cotinga, some of the Indians employed 
themselves during the day in catching numbers of the large species 
of termite, which build low mounds of earth, and, after roasting, ate 
them with evident relish. They captured these insects by inserting a 
dry grass stalk into their nests, to which the termites adhered by 
their mandibles and were drawn out in hundreds (BB, 127). 


Von Humboldt makes mention both on the Eio Negro and the Cas- 
siquiare (which connects it with the Orinoco) of an ant paste used by 
the Indians. " Four natives were sitting round a fire of brush wood, 
and they were eating a sort of white jjaste with black spots, which 
much excited our curiosity. These black spots proved to be vacliacos, 
large ants, the hinder parts of which resemble a lump of grease. They 
had been dried and blackened by smoke. We saw several bugs of them 
suspended above the fire. . . . These vachacos furnish subsistence 
to the Indians of the Rio Negro and the Guainia [Waini]. They do 
not eat the ants as a luxury, but because, according to the expression 
of the missionaries, the fat of ants (the white part of the abdomen) 
is a very substantial food" (AVH, ii, 389, 411). Certain ants are 
also considered a delicacy on the Uaupes River (Cou, ii, 168). 

226. The larvae of certain honeybees constituted as great a delicacy 
as the honey with the Makusi and Wapishana of the upper Takutu. 
These were stinging bees driven from their nests by bundles of dried 
grass attached to long sticks, and set fire to (SR, ii, 104). Crevaux 
speaks of the Indian eating bees' larvae after removal of the " sting" 
with thuml) and index finger (Cr. 223). Wasps' larvse are also re- 
garded as table delicacies and api^arently eaten cooked or raw. The 
Indians make a fire under the nest and, after killing or driving 
away the old ones, they roast the young grubs in the comb and eat 
them (W, 217). The Wapishana on the Quitaro River were . . . 
busily engaged in picking out and eating the larvse of a wasp, from the 
comb of a nest of that insect which they had knocked from the over- 
hanging branches of a tree. The children especially seemed to 
enjoy the little white grub-like larvse (BB, 156). I myself, when 
traveling with ^Nlakusi and Patamona, have had experience of the 
avidity with which they " rush " a tree to get the larvse in certain 
species of wasp's nest. Wasps' larvse are known to the Cayenne 
Carib as ocomo (Cr, 224). They are also eaten by the Trio (dO, 6) 
and Carib (AK, 188) of Surinam. On the Merewari River the 
Indians came to a halt to dig up the larva of some insect, which 
kSchomburgk found them eating with their cassava bread. It ap- 
l^eared to belong to the order Hymenoptera and was enveloped in a 
lump of clay, hardened like a shell (ScF, 227). 

227. Honey is easily exti'acted by enlarging the entrance to the 
hive, or knocking over the timber and splitting the limb. Plentiful 
as honey is (on the Orinoco) it would be still more so were it not for 
the little monkeys which, so Gumilla assures us, stationed at the 
entrance, gobble up the bees, one after another, as they go in or out. 
When the very last one has thus been got rid of the monkey, if 
he can get his hand in. will not leave a bit of honeycomb behind. If 
any is left he puts his tail in, and what sticks to this he licks off 
(G, 1,301). 

Chapter XII 

Clearing of the land (228) ; not iilways necessary (229) ; occasionally, no agri- 
culture in any form (230). 

Ensilage (231). 

Starcli: From fruit .urain (2.32); from mauritia palm (233); from cassava 

Cassava (235) ; bread (236) ; and leaves (237). 

Substitutes for cassava (238-243). ■ 

Maize (244). 

Rice (245). 

Other economic plants (246). 

Wild fruits (247). 

228. The clearing of a field in the days before the introduction of 
metal was a work of no inconsiderable difficulty, and the following 
description furnished by (iumilla on the Orinoco will give some 
idea of the nature of the task undertaken : " With their axes made of 
a stone celt, with a cutting edge at each extremity (sec. 6), fixed mid- 
way in a suitable wooden handle, they would cut the green stems of 
the brambles and briers [maleza) after having broken them down 
with their macanas or hardwood clubs, the women subsequently 
burning the dry timbers. It took them two months to cut down a 
tree. ... To start, throw up, and form furrows, after burning the 
undergrowth they employ shovels formed of very hard wood (which 
some call avaco, others macana, each nation giving it a name). . . . 
They manufacture these shovels with fire, burning some parts and 
leaving others free, not without skill, symmetry, and the expendi- 
ture of much time. . . . They heap up the earth on either side of 
the furrow and with it cover the straw and dried grass. They then 
sow their corn, cassava, and other roots ..." (Ci, ir, 229). That two 
months were required to cut down a tree is quite comprehensible. 
The Carib Islanders were obliged ... to set fire to the base of the 
tree and then surround it above with moistened moss to prevent the 
fire ascending, and thus they undermined the tree little by little 
(RO, 508). As to the exact nature of the local primitive agricul- 
tural instruments, but little more than the above shovels is known, 
though one observer suggests the existence (on insufficient evidence, 
it seems to me) of their traces in a certain hoe-like dancing orna- 
ment met with at the jiresent day on the upper Rio Negro (KG, i, 



350). "The felling of the timber to clear a field is essentially man's 
work, and it often occurs that the owner will be assisted by his neigh- 
bors and friends, their labor being requited in the way of drink at the 
party given on completion of the work. Such an association, to- 
gether with its subsequent festivities, is known as a kai-appa (War- 
rau), or mansirimanni, from the Arawak massaramanni. So also, 
on the lower Amazons, all the heavy work, such as felling and burn- 
ing the timber, planting, and weeding, is done in the plantation of 
each family by a congregation of neighbors, which they call a 
' pucherum ' — a similar custom to the ' bee ' in the backwoods settle- 
ments of North America. . . . When the invitation is issued the 
family prepares a great quantity of fermented drink" (HWB. 221). 
It must be borne in mind that in the clearing of the forest the; 
Indian will usually save from destruction any economic palms or 
edible fruit trees. Dance says that kushi ants will not have their 
nests near a cunaparu {Phyllanthus sp.) plant, the milky juice of 
which is acrid and insufferably irritant, and it is for this reason that 
many fields contain two or three of these plants (Da, 213). The com- 
mon practice of burning the savannas has nothing of an agricultural 
interest. The clearing of the field usually takes place at the commence- 
ment of the dry season. Hilhouse makes the following remarks con- 
cerning the labor entailed in the acquisition of a year's food supply by 
two people : " One Indian (Akawai) will clear and, with his wife, plant 
2 or 3 acres in as many weeks, and 7 or 8 acres will su^Dply them with 
a year's food, so that 10 or 12 weeks in the year is absolutely all that 
is required for actual labor, and the of the time remains for 
pleasure, hunting, and fishing" (HiC, 235). This excerpt is note- 
worthy in the mention therein made of the planting being done by 
a man — an unusual occurrence, the planting, like the weeding, being 
woman's work. So also, for similar reasons, the illustration of a 
man (sec. 343) grating cassava in Rochefort's work is very curious 
(RO, 105). 

229. But local conditions, as on the banks of the larger streams, 
the Amazon and the Orinoco, may lie such that there is no necessity 
for clearing any forest, suitable agricultural land being already avail- 
able. Thus, some do not take the trouble to clear a piece of forest 
for this purpose [of a plantation], but make use of the sloping, 
bare, earthy banks of the Solimoens which remain uncovered by 
water during eight or nine months of the year, and consequently 
long enough to give time for the ripening of the crops of man- 
dioca, beans, etc. (HWB, 282) . The Otomac pursued the same tactics 
on the lakes when drying up with the fall of the Orinoco (G. i, 177; 

230. On the other hand, certain tribes, nomadic in their habits, 
never troubled about agriculture in any form. On the Orinoco the 


(iuajiva and Chiricoa did not cidtivate their lands at all. They were 
always traveling from river to river collecting wild fruits; never 
built houses, and had no shelter from sun or rain (G, ii, 227-228). 
Indeed, it is probable that their nomadicity saved them from ex- 

231. On the Amazons there is Acuiia's authority for the state- 
ment that a kind of ensilage was practiced by the Indians. " They 
make great holes in the ground, wherein they put these [? manihot] 
roots, and. having well stopped them up with earth, leave them there 
as long as the floods (the annual inundations) last. . . . When the 
water runs off they open these pits and take out their roots without 
finding them at all the worse for lying in the earth " (AC. 57). The 
Indian also eats many roots, bush fruits, etc.. which he sometimes 
plucks green and buries underground to ripen (PEN, i, 113). 

232. Though the Otomac were essentially an agricultural people, 
. . . they did not, however, store their harvests, but just saved 
enough for the purposes of sowing. Among all the nations they 
alone knew how to make food and starch from the various fruits and 
roots which the others discard as being bitter, or but little whole- 
some. " The bread," says Gumilla, " is made as follows, its manu- 
facture being woman's work : Each one has in the neighborhood of 
the river the necessary pits. In each pit there is fine chalk {greda) 
or picked clay, well kneaded and pounded by dint of constant water 
in which they keep it, after the manner of the clay which potters 
use in making fine earthenware. In the center of the said clay they 
bury the maize, fruits, or other grain, the substance of which they 
have to extract, and after a definite number of daj's the mixture 
arrives at maturity — i. e., the buried grain reaches the point of sour- 
ness (agrio). When it is time they take out the clay, already kneaded 
and v.ell mixed up with the starch, and place it on earthen pans 
specially made for the purpose. Kneading it a second time with a 
large quantity of water they pass it tlirough a strainer, manufactured 
with this object, and the very liquid mass falls into other clean pans. 
Here it rests, the earthy sediment with the starch of the grain or 
fruit sinking to the bottom, and leaving the water clear on top. This 
water they drain off. They then take a large quantity of turtle or 
alligator fat, stir it up, and mix it with the sediment, to form rounded 
loaves, which are then put in the ovens. If no fat is available they 
content themselves without it. The heat of the ovens dries up the 
moisture. If fat has been used the paste comes out of the oven soft; 
if not. as hard as a brick. Owing to the crunching of the earth dur- 
ing mastication it has been stated that the Guamo and Otomac feed 
themselves on earth " (G, i, 177). 

233. The Warrau extract their starch from the mauritia palm as 
follows: When an ite tree begins to fructify it is cut down, a large 


slice is cut off one side, and the stringy substance of the interior is 
cut into shreds, the remainder of tlie trunk serving as a trough, in 
which it is triturated with water, by which is disengaged a consider- 
able quantity of starch. The fibrous particles are then extracted, 
and the sediment, or aru, formed into molds like bricks. This is 
spread out on stones or iron plates over the fire, and makes a very 
nutritive but at the same time unmasticable bread (HiB, 327). 
Gumilla gives the name of ynruma to the mauritia starch (G. i. 150). 
The present day Moruca River Warrau and Arawak call both cas- 
sava and ite starch aru or haru. 

234. The Pomeroon Arawak make theirs from the bitter variety 
of cassava, but they can manufacture it from the sweet. The former 
is treated as follows: After being scraped and grated it is squeezed 
with the hands and the fluid collected in a calabash, where there 
gradually forms a sediment, which is subsequently poured off. This 
sediment (the starch) is washed and strained through a very fine 
sifter and dried in the sun. Mixed with kereli (sec. 257), it can be 
baked into roimd cakes and eaten. Tapioca is made from the starch 
removed before the mass goes into the matapi or squeezer. A com- 
mon dish when meat is scarce is made of cassarip mixed with starch 
and boiled for a considerable time with peppers to taste ; any cut-up 
green stuff, such as calaloo, etc., can be added. Indeed, with 
any scarcity of food the Indians will mix or thicken whatever they 
may happen to have — e. g., a handful of small fish — with peppers 
and starch (Mak., Pat., Are.). 

235. Cassava, cassada, cazabe, etc., is the " bread " made from that 
most useful of edible plants known as yuca, yucca, magnioca, man- 
dioca, manioca, manihot, etc. Digging, loosening, and heaping up 
a small mound of earth, the Indian female will place in it two slijis 
of cassava stem fi'om 18 to 20 inches in length. Being inserted on 
the slope, one extremity of each stick is left exposed, the other 
being covered up with the earth just removed. On the islands the 
women are said to have used long pointed sticks for the digging 
(PBR, 241). Arawak have told me that two slips are invariably 
used in case one of them should fail to strike. The crop will ripen 
in about nine months, but whether the same field can be replanted 
will de^jend upon the kushi ants and the nature of the soil. It is true 
that cassava can be propagated from seed, but this procedure is not 
practiced. There are two kinds of cassava — the yuca dulce and yuca 
brava of the old Spaniards (G, it, 242) — corresponding with those 
now known to the Creoles as sweet and bitter (poisonous) varieties, 
to the Arawak as busuli and kalli, and to scientists as Manihot uti- 
lissima Pohl. {Jatropha manihot Linn.) and M. aijjnm Pohl., re- 


spectively. Thoiijjli both can be made into bread, it is usually only 
the bitter that is thus utilized. The method is as follows : 

236. After the cassava root has been peeled [with the teeth, up to 
the middle of last century, among the Uaupes River Indians (ARW, 
336) ] and grated, it is placed in a squeezer (matapi, sec. 345) , whereby 
its jjoisonous juice is expressed and the contained residuum (yuraha) 
removed and dried. On the Uaupes, however, instead of using the 
squeezer, the juice may be forced by hand pressure through a cir- 
cular sifter (pi. 51 B) supported on a triangvdar frame and collected 
in a receptacle below (KG, ii, 206). The old-time Surinam Arawak 
used to put it into a plaited press with a board on top, on which the 
woman would sit, her weight exerting the necessary pressure (BER. 
70). The extracted juice, after boiling, is known as cassarip (sec. 
y-J:8). The residuum when dried is pounded up in a mortar, passed 
through a sifter, and placed on a circular clay gi'id, now substituted 
In- iron, where over a smart fire it is made either into thin cakes 
(Arawak, kalli) or into " farinha." The difference is in the baking, 
for, instead of being allowed to consolidate into an entire cake, the 
cassava meal is kept costantly stirred as it rests on the iron griddle, 
so that in dn'ing it assumes the form of an accumulation of small 
dry crumbs of wheaten bread (IT, 262). The cassava cake, the 
form in which it was eaten in the islands, is identical with the 
beiju of the central Brazils (WJ, 86). The preparation of farinha 
does not seem to be carried on much beyond the valley of the Amazon 
and its tributaries, where it is spoken of as couac (WJ, 86) or coaque 
(PBA, 56). 

237. Bitter cassava leaves make an excellent vegetable, and are pre- 
pared chiefly by Akawai, sometimes by Makusi, as follows: The 
leaves are denuded of their stalks, finely minced on a grater, and 
boiled, the water being changed from time to time until all bitter taste 
has gone. Game or any other meat available may then be added. 
Schomburgk was the first to note that the Arekuna eat the cooked 
terminal sprouts of the cassava (SR, ii, 234). 

238. When the supply of cassava for food has run short or become 
damaged through drought, excessive rain, or, as often as not, the 
Indians' own neglect, its bulk is said to be increased by mixing in it 
chopped cassava leaves after being well dried. More often, however, 
other seeds are mixed with or substituted for it, the principal of 
which are the following: 

239. Mora seed {D Imorphandra mo7'a Bth.) : The skin is scraped 
off, and the seed then soaked in water for a week, when it is grated — 
though very hard to grate — and squeezed in ite straw — i. e., the re- 
mains of the ite leaf after its cortical fiber has been removed for 

60160°— 24 15 


string making. The grated seed is squeezed by wrapping it in this 
straw and then twisting the ends of the latter in opposite directions 
after the manner of a towel in the making of a hot fomentation. It 
is now mixed with a little cassava and baked, when it foiTns a cake 
of the color of coconut husk. It still tastes bitter, but is good, in 
that " it kills nobody." The reason why it is squeezed in the straw 
and not in a matapi is that usually a sufficiently large quantity is not 
made. The object of mixing it with a little cassava is that it would 
otherwise prove too dry for the palate. 

240. Greenhearf seeds {Nectandra rodiosi Hooker) : The seeds are 
grated and put in fresh water, and a matter precipitates similar 
in appearance to starch. It is repeatedly washed to lessen its bitter- 
ness, which it never loses entirely. It is then mixed with rotten 
wood, pounded previously and sifted, and those who have it in their 
power mix a little cassava flour with it. This substitute for bread is 
not only quite black, but as bitter as wormwood, and can not be whole- 
some (8cA, 346). If cassava is scarce, the Warrau of the Barima 
mix the meal with greenheart seeds and the pith of the ite palm 
(SE. I, 196). 

241. The seed of the dakamballi {Vouacapoua americana) is used 
by the Indians, in time of scarcity, for bread, it being grated and 
mixed with the flour of the cassava root ... It is by no means dis- 
agi'eeable when baked (BE, 14; CC, 55). 

242. Pario seeds: These are peeled, grated (but not soaked), 
mixed with a little cassava, squeezed either in ite straw or a matapi, 
and baked into cakes. It is not so bitter as mora, and if not mixed 
with a little cassava it is too dry. 

243. Xuts of the sawari tree [Cwryocar {Pehea) tuberculosa'] with 
mora and greenheart seed, grated and mixed with rotten wood, served 
instead of cassava bread in season of scarcity, on the Demerara 
(Da. 177). 

244. Maize. — Wliile the ordinary maize {Zeu mays), was cultivated 
throughout the Guianas, Gumilla draws attention to an alleged 
special variety met with on the Orinoco : " All the Otomac Indians 
who live near the lakes, of which there are many, and veiy large 
ones, as soon as the waters fall, plant up the soil now left exposed. 
... In the neighborhood of these lakes the said Otomac, Guamo, 
Pao. and Saruro sow a peculiar kind of maize, which has not spread, 
nor have I seen it amongst other nations.. In their own language they 
call it onona or 'two-month maize' {mais de los dos meses), be- 
cause in two months from sowing it grows, throws out ears of corn, 
and ripens, with the result that in the circle of the year they 
collect six harvests of it. In between they plant sweet canes, plenty 
of calabashes, and a large quantity of watermelons" (G, n, 231). 


Schomburgk reports seeing bread manufactured from a mixture of 
manihot and maize meal (SR, ii, 188), and some pap made of 
pounded maize boiled with cut-up pumpkin (SR, ii, 192) among the 
Makusi of the upper Cotinga. Dance speaks of aknaikh, a mixture 
of maize and buck-yam, met with on the Curiebrong. The corn, with 
pieces of boiled jjiirple buck-yam interspersed, is thrown into a 
wooden mortar, and cold water added when the pestle is worked — 
not pounded downward — from all sides to all sides (Da, 232). Wild 
maize, whence the settlement receives its name, was found at Annai 
village, on the eastern foot of the Pacaraima Range (ScO, 73). 

245. Rice. — ^Though rice was introduced from the East Indies, it 
was growing wild on the Orinoco, certainly a couple of centuries 
ago. "It is a very singular and noteworthy thing that I have 
observed," says Gumilla. "on the lands subject to inundation on 
the Rivers Orinoco, Meta, Apure, C'asanare, Tame, and others, and 
that is, in place of the reeds which are generally seen in other lakes, 
in those of the said rivers, is to be found rice growing, increasing, 
and ripening. It arises in the moist soil without anyone sowing 
or cultivating it. The inexperienced Indians do not recognize the 
use of this precious grain, but the little birds do" (G, ii, 231). 
Brown speaks of the Wapishana bringing him some fresh provi- 
sions, among which was a small quantity of unshelled rice which 
they had grown tliemselves (BB, 274). 

246. The following is a list of the more common economic plants 
other than cassava which are recorded as having been cultivated by 
the Indians: 

Ananas sativa. Pineapple (G, ii, 246). 

Anacardium sjD. Cashew (ScB, 178). 

Arumsp. (PEN.iii). 

Bactris gasipaes=Guilielnia speciosa. Paripi or peach-palm (SR, 

II, 417; HWB, 286). 
Bixa orellana. Ruku. 

Bromelia sp. (karatas). Silk-grass (kuraua). 
Capsicum sp. Peppers. 
Carica papaya. Pa paw (G, ii, 246). 
?Cinnamomum (G, i, 321). 
Cocos nucifera. Coconut. 
Crescentia cujete. Calabash (PEN, i, 111). 
Ipomcea batatas. Potato (FE, 75). 
Citrus sp. Lemon (ScB, 178; ScO, 123). 
Citrus sp. Lime (ScG, 264; ScB, 178, 187). 
Citrus sp. Orange (ScB, 187). 
Dioscorea sp. Yam (ScB, 187). 
Euphorbia cotinoides (PEN, i, 111). 
Genipa americana. Lana (ScT, 25, 39, 40 ; SR, ii, 47, 371). 


Gynerium saccharoides. Arrow-reed (Pnk, i, 525). 

Gossipium spp. Cotton (ScT, 25). 

Lonchocarpus spp. Haiari fish poison (BA, 106). 

Musa sp. Banana (ScG, 250). 

Musa sp. Plantain (G, ii, 246; BA, 29). 

Nicotiana tabacum. Tobacco. 

Persea gratissima. Avocado pear. 

JSaccharum officinarium. Sugar cane. 

Solanum sp. Yams. 

Tephrosia toxicaria. Fish poison (PEN, i, 111). 

Theobroma cacao. Cacao (ScG, 264, 269; ScO, 123). 

Zea. Maize (PEN, i. 111). 

In Timehri for June, 1888, J. Rodway gives lists of plants culti- 
vated and introduced into the Guianas. 

247. But, besides these, there are a large series of wild fruits, ber- 
ries, nuts, etc., that are eaten by the Indians. Unfortunately, in the 
absence of any official or other authoritative flora, very few of them 
are identified : 
Achras sapota. Sapodilla. 

Anona muricata. Sour-sop. Probably cultivated American. 
Anona reticulata. Custard apple. Probably cultivated American. 
Astrocaryum tucumoides. Awarra. 
Astrocaryum tucuma. Akko-yuro. 
Bertholletia excelsa (?nobilis). Brazil nut. 
Caria seeds (ScA, 327). 

Caryocar (Pekea) tuberculosa. Sawari nut (ScO, 49). 
Cereus sp. (ScT, 53). 

Eugenia sp. The casimi of the Makusi (ScT, 20; SR, ii, 11). 
Genipa mariana and G. edulis (SR, ii, 47). 
Hymensea courbaril (BA, 66). 
Inga lateri folia. Shirada. 
Manicaria saccifera. Truli. 
Maximiliana regia. Kokerit. 
Mauritia flexuosa. Ite. 
Malpighia (SR, n, 17). 
Mammea americana. Mamee apple. 
Melicocca bijuga. The maku of the Makusi (SR, ii. 47; ScT, 39^0), 

the kinip and marmolada-box of the Creoles. 
Mimusops balata. Bullet tree. 
Mushrooms (G, i, 263). 

Nigritia schomburgkii. Small guava (IT. 267). 
Oenocarpus sp. Turn. 
Palms. — The fruit is edible of the following palms mentioned by 

Gumilla, but I do not think they are scientifically recognizable: 

Jijirri (G, n, 247) ; camuirro and vesirri (G, ii, 249) ; mararabes. 


the black fruit from a palm so short that they can reach it with 
their hands (G, i, 263) ; and cubarros, the fruit from a larger palm 
full of prickles (G, i, 263). The cabbage (i. e., the young growing 
shoot) can be eaten from most of the palms, except from the 
paripi (Gulielma), but the trees are destroyed thereby. 


Psidium sp. Guava. P. turbiniflorum is the piriko of the Makusi 
(SB, n, 12). P. guajava (SR, ii, 12). 

Spondias lutea. The maropi of the Makusi (SR, ii, 129, 362; ScT, 
63), the hog plum of the Creoles. 

Chapter XIII 


Sauces: Cassarip (tukupi) (248); arube (249). 

Salt: From plants (250); from inorganic sources (251); varying use by In- 
dians (252). 
Earth eating (253). 

248. With regard to sauces, that obtained from the cassava and 
Icnown as cassarip, the quisare of Gumilhi (G, ii, 242), has the 
widest distribution. After the poisonous juice from the cassava 
has been exjjressed by means of the matapi, time is allowed for its 
contained sediment (starch) to settle. This expressed juice, together 
with its starch, is known as keheli to the Arawak. The water is 
then carefully poured off and, with jjeppers, boiled for about three 
hours or so, by which time it will have become thickened as cassarip. 
A little salt may nowadays be sometimes added to the peppers in 
the boiling. The tukupi sauce of the lower Amazons (HWB, 163), 
of the Rio Negro (KG, i, 332), etc., is apparently identical with 
cassarip, save that it is seasoned with small fishes in addition to 
the peppers. Bates says this " is generally made as a liquid, but 
the Juri and Miranha tribes on the Japura make it up in the form 
of a black paste by a mode of preparation I could not learn. ... I 
have seen the Indians on the Tapajos, where fish are scarce, season 
tukupi with leaf -carrying ants {(Ecodoma cephalotes). It is there 
used chiefly as a sauce to tacaca, another preparation from mandioca 
(cassava), consisting of the starch beaten up in boiling water." 

249. Arube is another sauce on the lower Amazon made of the 
poisonous juice of the cassava boiled down before the starch is pre- 
cipitated and seasoned with peppers (HWB, 163). Earthworms 
may be boiled with fish to give the latter an extra relish (ARW, 
201). Not at ordinary meals but on occasions of rejoicing and de- 
bauchery the Carib islanders would use a seasoning made from Ara- 
wak fat (RO. 500). 

250. Though salt is a comparatively rare article with the Indian, 
he is not ignorant of the methods of procuring it otherwise than by 
exchange and barter, from products of both organic and- inorganic 
nature. In the former case it is usually obtained from certain palms. 
In Cayenne the particular kind is known as " pinot " (or pineau) 
to the coastal inhabitants, and the Roucouyenne of the Yarj' River 
procure it as follows: After burning, the ashes are placed in a large 



earthen saucepan of hot water, where they sink to the bottom, their 
contained salts being dissolved. In evaporating the solution, freed 
from the ashes, there becomes desposited a white crystalline matter 
composed of different salts of soda and potassium, a substance which 
replaces salt without any inconvenience (Cr, 118). Father Acuna, 
when speaking of the Indians on the Amazon, says that they have 
no great quantity of salt, and that which they use to season their 
meat is vei-y rare with them, and is made only of the ashes of a sort 
of palm tree, so that it is more like saltpeter than common salt 
(AC, 62). In Surinam palm-tree ashes wei'e also employed (St, ri, 
• 115). In the Catalogue of British Guiana Contributions to the Lon- 
don International Exhibition of 186"2. page 62, it is stated that the Ac- 
cawai Indians obtain a substitute for salt from the ash of the mid 
rib of the kokerit palm. Wallace, however, on the upper Rio Negro, 
speaks of the Indians obtaining it from the fruit of this same palm, 
as also from the fruit of the Leopoldina major (ARW, 340). Schom- 
burgk says that the Indians prepare a kind of salt from the ashes of the 
burned leaves of the Mauritia fexuosa (ScT, 25). In Cayenne the 
Indians also obtained their requirements by washing the cinders of the 
maripa (kokerit) , pineau ( ? truli ) , and other palms, and then filtering 
through a cone-shaped basket (PBA, 162). At Yavita, on the Ata- 
bapo, upper Orinoco, a salt is fabricated by the incineration of the 
spadix and fruit of the palm tree seje or chimu (AVH, ii, 365). 
Among plants other than palms there is the poluyo, a species of 
Salicomia (?) from which the Guapes and other Indian tribes along 
the Rio Negro prepare this article (ScO, 341). Another soiirce, 
the Poly podium, is mentioned from the Orinoco : " In the trunks 
of the palms grows the polypodium. Its stem is thin and hairy, 
whence the Betoyes call it monkey-arm. Its leaf is like that of 
cabbage; it goes on increasing and sends out roots on one and 
the other side of the palm, whence it draws its sap, and keeps itself 
from falling. . . . The Indians light a fire, and when the wood 
is burned place these roots on the glowing ashes; the charcoal which 
results is saltpeter sufficiently strong for them to put into the earthen 
pot to give it the taste of salt" (G, i, 273). The remaining plant 
recorded as a salt producer is the weya, weira, weyi'a, or huya, 
the Mourera puviatilis Aubl., an aquatic plant which is found 
growing on the rocks in many of the rapids in our own colony 
and on which the pacu feeds. The salt obtained by boiling is, when 
crystallized, of a dirty brown color and of a very inferior quality 
(BE, 42; ARW, 340;"SR, ii, 497). This mourera may be identical 
with the plants from which caruru salt is obtained (Cou, ii, 169). 

251. According to Bancroft, the Indians used but little salt with 
their food, and until the Europeans visited them they had none, 
except what they sometimes procured by boiling sea water in their 


biiiaJl clay pots, but the far inland inhabitants scarcely ever saw any 
in their lives (BA, 325). This author was evidently unaware in those 
days of the existence of large areas of natural salt incrustations on 
the savannas, from which the Indians manufactured an impure 
salt (BB, 318). that constituted a very important article of trade and 
barter. Thus Schomburgk speaks not only of Makusi (ScF, 212), 
but also of Wapishana (ScF, 213) journeying to the savanna to 
collect salt : of the article on the Takutu, he says that, looking like 
peat earth when collected, it takes on a white color with rejieated wash- 
ing (SE, II, 47). Salt is found in patches in minute crystalline par- 
ticles after the evaporation of the water left by the heavy rains. 
Thus, on the surface of the river loam within 200 yards of the Che- 
wow Eiver, a branch of the Pirara, and at a distance of 5 miles from 
the Ireng River, there is one of those places where salt is obtained 
from the surface of the ground by the Indians . . . Near the head of 
the river there is another salt patch, also one near the Ireng not far 
off, and a third on the Pirara Eiver to the northeast. The guide ex- 
plained that after every rainy season, when the countxy becomes dry 
and parched, the salt comes out on the surface, and is then very pure 
and white and in greater quantity than at any other time. When 
removed by the Indians it continues to fonn, and the portion taken 
away is soon replaced (BES, 177). The Indians gather it, mix it 
with water, and place it in a large funnel-shaped gourd, having a 
plug of grass in the bottom, through which the water, after taking 
up the salt in solution, slowly filters. The water is then boiled down 
and a dark, fine-grained salt obtained (BES, 165). ["A little to the 
westward of the Orinoco the abundance of salt contained in the 
peninsula of Araya was known to Alonzo Nifio ... in 1499. Though 
of all the people on the globe the natives of South America con- 
sume the least salt, because they scarcely eat anything but vegetables, 
it nevertheless appeai-s that at an earlj- period the Guaycjuerias dug 
into the clayey and muriatiferous soil of Punta Arenas. Even the 
brine pits, now called new {la salina nuera), situated at the extremity 
of Cape Araya, were worked in very remote times " (AVH, i, 179).] 
253. The taste for salt among the Indians would seem to be far 
from general. It was said of the Island Carib that, though plenti- 
fully supplied with salines, " they would not ordinarily taste it, re- 
garding salt as quite contrary to health and the preservation of life. 
. . . instead of salt, thej' peppered everything (EO. 365). Salt is 
not so much sought after by the Uaupes River Indians as by many 
other tribes. . . . Peppers seem to serve them in place of it (ARW. 
340). On the other hand, Im Thurn is responsible for the extraordi- 
nary statement that salt is largely eaten by itself, just as an Eng- 
lish child eats sugar (IT. 265) ; while Bernau even goes so far as 
to assure us that he has seen the Essequibo Indians eating it by 


liandfuls (BE, 231). The latter gentleman is of opinion that the 
want of salt of a wholesome quality and in sufficient (|uantity is 
another reason why the Indian sinks so rapidly when attacked by 

253. Earth eating appears to have been a jnore or less common 
practice throughout the Guianas, and most travelers have drawn at- 
tention to it. Thus : " The Guama and Otomac, their neighbors, are 
earth eaters (G, i, 166). Even while bathing the Otomac will eat 
of the chalk from the banks (barrancas). ... To keep their children 
quiet mothers will give them earth to lick and suck. If kneaded with 
a certain sauce . . . they like it better (G, i, 172). The bread, made 
with alligator fat, of the Otomac is at least half of it chalky earth, 
which naturally ought to injure those who eat it; but the very op- 
posite id the case, because these Indians excel the other nations in 
health, strength, and size. This moved me to inquire," saj's (xumilla, 
" how it came to pass that other nations when out of pure cussedness 
{[lor vicio), they eat earth, as happens with young children and 
pregnant women, they soon lose color, become languid, and sicken. 
... I have found that alligator fat entirely cleanses the stomach 
without allowing any earth to remain in it ; an ounce of the fat, with 
a little sugar to avoid nausea, taken fasting, three or four mornings 
running " (G, ii, 224). Humboldt, however, qualifies Gumilla's state- 
ments as follows: "The Otomac do not eat every kind of clay indif- 
ferently; they choose the alluvial beds or strata, which contain the 
most unctuous earth and the smoothest to the touch . . . the natives 
neither cause the earth to rot, nor do they mingle it with flour of 
maize, oil of turtle's egg, or fat of the crocodile" (AVH, ii, 495). 
But elsewhere this author would hardly seem to regard earth as an 
ordinary article of everydaj' diet, but rather to assuage the cravings 
of hunger in seasons of scarcity (AVH, ii, 196). Crevaux says that 
all the Cayenne Carib are earth eaters. In each house, upon the 
boucan where the meat is smoked, one will find some clay balls, 
which the Indians smoke dry and eat pulverized. Always an hour 
after each meal they will take one of these balls, remove the outer 
layer that has been blackened, scrape the inside with a knife 
and thus obtain a fine powder, of which they swallow 5 or 6 grams 
in two doses (Cr, 287). Very many children on the upper parts of 
the Amazons have this strange habit of eating earth, baked clay, 
pitch wax, and other similar substances; not onlj' Indians, but 
Negroes and whites. It is not, therefore, peculiar to the famous 
Otomac of the Orinoco described by Humboldt (HWB, 275). De 
Goeje in Surinam speaks of seeing a Trio woman eat earth (GO, 5) 
Judging from another traveler's account, edible clay must be regarded 
as quite a delicacy (KG, ii, 291). 

Chapter XIV 

Wflter in time?, of scarcity (254) ; honey (255). 

Fernientefl drinks: Ciiiclia, "beer," etc. (256): paiwarri (2.57): cassiri (2.58); 
beltiri (259) ; ovaku or ouieou (260) : coiirin. berria, palino (261) ; kumani, 
parakari, sakura (262) ; maby (263) ; maize drink (264) : caapim (265) : pine- 
apple drink (266) ; wild cashew, cane juice, cupana or guaraua (267) ; plan- 
tain, couscou, yahe (268). 

Nonfermented drinks: Ite (269); turn, manicol (270): awarra, paripi, arako- 
dak, hitchia, etc. (271). 

254. In times of scarcity water may be obtained from the sap of 
various creepers, etc., from the sheath bases of the leaves of certain 
phints, and from the soil in close proximity to one or two kinds of 
palm. etc. B. Brown, at Cainuti Mountain, Essequibo River, thus 
speaks of procuring water from a vine called the waterwithe, a species 
of vitis {'iEntada polystachya) : " My men sought for and found a 
number of these vines, which had wound themselves round the stems of 
large trees. Cutting them off as high as they could reach they severed 
them quickly lower down, obtaining portions of stem some 5 feet in 
length and from 3 to 6 inches in diameter. Holding these vertically, 
the sap, which appeared to be nothing but pure, clear, cool water, ran 
quickly out and was caught in a cup and drunk. From one length 
of the largest size we obtained at least a pint of water" (BB, 323). 
Gumilla had previously recorded this method of obtaining water 
from cut vines on the Orinoco (G, ii, 2G6) ; and Barrere had done the 
same in Cayenne (PBA. 178). In the latter area of the Guianas, 
when the Indians traverse the uiountains. they drink the sap of 
Lonchocai'pus rufescens, the salisali of the Roucouyenne (Carib), 
who use the creeper for poisoning fish. Though this water is fresher 
than that of a clear stream, one must only drink of its first flow, be- 
cause that which subsequently comes away is a white, milky juice, 
pos.sessing toxic properties (Cr, 278) . In periods of drought the old- 
time Arawak of the Pomeroon would obtain water from the young 
truli fruits after breaking. There is nothing strange about the taste 
of this water, with which I have more than once refreshed myself. 
The wild pine (Tillandsia spp.) provides the thirsty traveler with 
miniature water tanks in the sheath bases of its leaves (BW, 236). 
So also Schomburgk, when on Mount Warima, expresses himself: 
" Several others of the families related to that genus cover the rocks 


with their foliage; each like a natural cistern yielded us upwards of 
a pint of water; that which was on the top clear and pure; the re- 
mainder filled with residue and a slimy matter peculiar to the plant. 
The water is, however, well tasted, and our Indians drank copiously 
of it" (ScF, 232). Since the ite palms <irow only in moist soil or 
swamps, the same traveler relates how. when he failed to procure 
water by digginp: at the foot of their trunks, he knew that his search 
would prove hopeless anywhere else in the neighborhood (ScT, 25). 
The same thing is stated of the sandkoker or oronoque tree {Ery- 
thnrui gla.uca). at the roots of which water can be collected in the 
dry season. The Wapishana of the Takutu dug holes on the edges 
of certain swamps to collect it (SR, ii, 48, 106). On the Annai sa- 
vanna, in the Eupununi. I observed several such ground pits spe- 
cially dug for collecting and storing water in the dry season, in the 
close neighborhood of the Makusi settlement ; the deepest was barely 
a couple of feet. Schomburgk also mentions such pits on the edges 
of the swamps (SR. ii. 78). Manicol palms [Euterpe edulis) are also 
said to be a sure sign of the vicinity of water. Dance is responsible 
for the statement that in the tropics the Indian finds his way to the 
rivers by barking a tree, well knowing that in a line with the thickest 
part is the path to the river (Da, 252). 

255. Wild honey may be mixed with water and drunk, bvit there is 
no record of its ever being left to ferment. "Even in its natural 
state this honey differs from that of European bees in that it is not 
viscid, but almost as fluid as water, and has a subacid, highly 
fragrant taste" (IT, 268). 

256. The Guiana Indians are well versed in the manufacture of 
fermented liquors. Gumilla speaks of their obtaining chicha " from 
whatever seeds they sow, roots they cultivate, or fruits they col- 
lect" (G, II, 243). Cassava, without doubt, furnishes them with 
the large-st number of alcoholic liquors — paiwarri, cassiri. beltiri, 
ovicou, berria, kumani, etc. 

257. Paiwarri, the paiwa of the Akawai. the bai-yauro of the War- 
rau, the irito-atahu (lit., black drink) of the Arawak, the tapana 
of the Surinam Carib, etc., is manufactured as follows: A cassava 
cake, made about 14 inches thick, is burned on the usual flat circular 
iron plate, where it is turned over and over until such time as it 
becomes black through and through, and is called basha. In the 
meantime the cassava juice that has already been squeezed through 
the meshes of the matapi is poured into a pot and boiled until all 
the bitterness has been extracted, but not waiting for the stuff to 
reach too thick a consistence, when water is added to it. The burned 
cassava, after being broken up, is next thrown into the pot, which 
is now taken off the fire, its contents turned out into a wooden trough, 


and boiling water poured over the mixture. To this is now added a 
calabashful of kereli (theArawak name), which. the Indians explain, 
prevents the drink becoming slimy and useless. Next day it is strained 
in the conical-shaped basket, the kamaiyo (sec. 424) — a practically 
obsolete article, which is nowadays replaced by the ordinary cassava 
squeezer employed as strainer. Twenty-four hours later the drink 
is ready for the palate, and, if not then used, becomes gradually sour, 
until at the end of, say, three days, it is no good whatever, unless and 
except fresh burned cassava is added and the remaining process of 
manufacture repeated. The kereli above referred to is the chewed 
fresh cassava bread, previously soaked in sugar-cane juice, which 
has been thoroughly saturated with saliva and spat out again by the 
different women and children, sometimes men assisting (ScG, 258). 
In certain areas this chewing process is said to be essentially woman's 
work. At Taiepong village, on the upper Potaro, the Indians ap- 
parently supplemented the ingredients of their paiwarri by mixing 
with the burned cassava cake the ashes of the huya {Mourera- fliivla- 
tilis) (BB. 201). It is interesting to note that in the early days of 
the eighteenth century oversea passengers landing at Berbice, after 
undergoing the necessary legal formalities, were subse(]uently regaled 
in the governor's house with a pipe and a bowl of paiwarri (Ti, ii, 
'83, p. 334). 

258. Cassiri, cachiri, etc., is so called from the red "potato" or 
" yam," the cashiri of the Arawak, which gives the drink its dis- 
tinctive color, this being always of a pinkish red. After being peeled 
and grated the cassava is squeezed dry between the hands, any bal- 
ance of the wet stuff left being squeezed in the matapi and used up 
for ordinary " house bread." The dried portion is put with water 
into a pot, where it is boiled and stirred until all the bitterness is 
gone, by which time it has become fairly thick, the bitterness being 
gauged by the taste. It is now taken off the fire and mixed in the 
wooden trough with some of the red liquid previously obtained by 
boiling the red potatoes in water. (Another method is to boil the 
scrapings of the potato with, and in the same pot as, the hand- 
squeezed cassava, and then to place the mixture in the trough.) 
Kereli is next added, and the whole strained during the course of the 
following morning, when it is put into jugs (uncorked) and is fit for 
drinking three days later. Among the Warrau on the Barima, 
Schomburgk speaks of cassiri drink manufactured from maize, pota- 
toes, and cane juice (SR, i, 201 ; ii, 212). 

259. Beltiri is a name derived from the Arawak word beletto, sig- 
nifying anything soft or jelly-like. Whereas paiwarri and cassiri 
are used chiefly for purposes of feasting and sport, beltiri is essen- 
tially a drink for home consumption. I would instruct anyone in its 


manufacture as follows: Prepare your kereli, and place it with warm 
(not boiling) water in a calabash. Havinor, in the course of making 
household cassava cake, expressed the fluid from the squeezed cassava 
by means of the matapi, pour this into a pot and boil until all bit- 
terness has disappeared, by which time it will have become fairly 
thick. As soon as it gets cold add a little of the red liquor, pre- 
viously obtained by boiling red " potato," together with kereli, in 
sufficient proportion to form a soft mush. This will keep good for 
certainly a week. A portion, as may be required, is put into a cup of 
water, when it will more or less melt, and can then be drunk straight- 
away. I am very suspicious that the sakula or salcura (sec. 262) is 
more or less identical with beltiri (PEN. 1. 114). 

260. Ovaku, ouicou, etc., had an established reputation in its day, 
and was known equally well in Cayenne as it was out on the islands. 
I am indebted to Fathers Grillet and Bechamel, who were traveling 
in French Guiana during the latter part of the seventeenth century, 
for the following description both of its nature and manufacture: 
"What is ordinarily used is as white as milk and of the same con- 
sistence. It is very refreshing and nourishing, and is composed 
of cassava baked after their ordinary manner, and potatoes boiled 
with it till they are of the consistence. of paste. This they put into 
baskets lined with the leaves of bonano (? banana) trees, in which 
it keeps good for a month, and then begins to grow sour, but not 
quite so soon if it be kept in a cool place. When they use it, they 
steep as much as.they have present occasion for in a sufficient quan- 
tity of water, and if they are at leisure they strain it. But they often 
only steep it and drink it without straining, and if sugar or sugar- 
canes bruised be mixed with it it comes very near the taste, color, 
and consistence of orgeate, the use of which the French have taken 
from the Italians some years since. This drink is called ovaku 
upon the Continent and oviku in the islands. It is believed that 
the reason why the Europeans can never attain to make it so good 
as the Indians do is because these chew the potatoes and cassava 
before they boil them together, and understand better what degree 
of boiling they require to give this liquor its greatest perfection. 
But seeing its jjreparation in this way turns one's stomach more 
than the reading of it; and the wine that washes the dirty feet of 
the grape gatherers as they tread the grapes is no less nauseous, 
but the fermentation both of the one and the other correct all this 
uncleanness" (GB, 51). The Carib Islanders apparently had two 
sorts of OUICOU made with and without potatoes, respectively. In 
the latter case it was manufactured as follows: After taking the 
cassava off the grid, they put it somewhere in the house and cover 
it with manioc leaves and some heavy stones to " heat " it, which it 


does in three or four clays. They next cut it into several pieces, 
which they lay on banana leaves, sprinkle lightly over with water, 
and let them remain uncovered. After one night this becomes quite 
red, when it is ready to make ouicou with. It is next boiled without 
potatoes (RO. 501). Ovicou was also the name given to certain 
drinking feasts by these Antilleans (EO, 515). 

261. Couria is a drink mentioned by Crevaux as met with on the 
Guaviar Eiver, and made from sweet potatoes and cassava, diluted 
and fermented (Cr, 508). Unfortunately no further particulars of 
its manufacture are forthcoming. Berria is another cassava product 
noted by Gimiilla, On the Orinoco and in other parts, especially on 
the Ayrico, the Indians heap up hot cassava cakes, cover them with 
plantain leaves, and after fermenting through the action of the heat 
they dissolve them in warm water, and placing the resulting broth in 
earthen jars (tinajas), it effervesces like must, and produces a beer 
which is called berria. because it comes from the berri — i. e., the 
cassava (G, ii, 243). I am informed that the present day Demerara 
River Indians manufacture a cassava drink on practically identical 
lines — i. e., without the use of any kereli. Palino appears to have 
been a Cayenne drink identical with the berria (GB, 51). It seems 
to me that this is the drink referred to by van Berkel under the name 
of bassia, as it was called by the Dutch, and as pernou, pernouw, 
perrinoe, etc., by the Indians (BER, 25). 

262. Kumani, of the Demerara River, Surinam, etc., is a composi- 
tion of cassava bread, cassava sticks or twigs, and soft wood, all 
burned and pounded together, and placed in jars with water for 
weeks to ferment. Portions of the fermented matter are then wrapped 
in leaves. It is sweet and honey-like, and when mixed with water, 
used as a beverage (Da, 214). But, according to the Malmsi, kumani 
is made thus : After removal from the matapi the cassava is broken 
up, sifted, mixed with charcoal ashes, and baked into cakes. These 
cakes are cut into long strips and tied up in bundles with " bushes," 
leafy twigs, for about six weeks, when they are soaked in water for 
24 hours, and the mixture, intoxicating, is ready to be drunk. Para- 
kari is prepared in a similar manner with similar effects, but has no 
charcoal mixed with it. I have seen it used by Makusi. 

Sakura (sec. 259), invariably taken on a sea journey by the Suri- 
nam Carib, was a kind of pap. made of chewed cassava, cooked yams, 
and such like. A handful of it mixed with a calabashful of water 
formed a sort of soup (AK. 181). This was perhaps akin to the 
procedure mentioned by Schomburgk, who thus describes how the 
Makusi were wont to insure a supply of cassava drink when travel- 
ing: "A few days before starting on a journey the housewife bakes 
some fresh cassava bread, of which one is chewed, while the others 


are kneaded into a paste, together with the chewed mass and the 
thickened juice of the maniliot . . . Fermentation commences after 
four or five days. If the Indian wants to quench his lively thirst he 
just takes a small quantity of the stuff, puts it into a drinking cup. 
pours water on it, and stirs the contents until they are dissolved '' 
(SR, II, 4). 

363. Maby was manufactured by the Carib Islanders from potatoes 
boiled with water (RO. 501), apparently without any admixture 
of cassava, but unfortunately no further description has been handed 
down to us. The following is a Demerara River Akawai receipt for 
making the so-called inabi or red-potato drink of the Creoles : Com- 
mence operations in the afternoon. Take red potatoes, scrape off the 
outer skins liglitly, and boil the whole until soft. Then mash up 
fine in a mortar, and throw into a jar or tub with boiling or cold 
water. Leave all night. In the morning strain through a fine sieve 
and add sugar, place in a close, corked vessel, jar, or bottle for two 
or three days; in about two days it begins to work. 

264. Maize drink runs the various products of cassava very closely 
in the way of a favorite alcoholic liquor, and its methods of pro- 
duction afford interesting illustration of the different ways by which 
fermentation may be secured. Starting with the Orinoco, Gumilla 
tells us how, from maize, ground with the vigor of a woman's arms, 
the Indians make their loaves, which, inclosed in leaves, they cook 
not in an oven but in boiling water, having some very large earthen 
vessels (oUcts) for the purpose. They call this bread cayzii. They 
usually crumble it when it is fresh and knead it up a second time in 
a large quantity of hot water. Having crushed to powder four of 
these old loaves full of mold, which they call subibizu, they mix the 
said powder into that liquid dough, which, placed in large earthen 
jars {tinajas), effervesces on the third day, there resulting a chicha 
or healthy beer if taken in moderation (G, ii, 242). The same 
method of {jreparation was appai-ently practiced in Surinam, for 
Stedman speaks of a beverage (chiacoar) composed from the maize 
or Indian corn, which is first ground and baked into bread, after 
which it is crumbled and macerated with water till it ferments (St, 
I, 392). Crevaux's description differs from the above in the addition 
of sugar. With banana leaves the Indians make up parcels con- 
taining 2 to 3 kilograms of maize meal. They boil these for 10 
hours in a saucepan containing water and then hang them up in their 
huts or leave them out in the air for from 15 to 20 days. These be- 
come covered with a mold, which is yellow on the elevated plains 
but green on the warm lands. It is now time for them to take the 
parcels down and dissolve their contents in water containing a small 
quantity of panela (i. e., nonrefined sugar made up into cakes of the 


shape of a brick). This is then strained through a rough sifter 
and the fluid collected in a wooden vessel, where it undergoes alco- 
holic fermentation, and, according as the temperature is cold or hot, 
from 4 days to 24 hours is required for this (Cr, 405-406). In Brit- 
ish Guiana, certainly on the Pomeroon, the maize, after being 
pounded if dry, or grated if fresh, is thrown into warm water and 
boiled, after which it may be drunk straightaway, but if '"strong"' 
drink is wanted chewed kereli is then added and the liquor strained 
next day. Within three days it is ready for consumption. 

265. Caapim, met with in the Uaupes River district, is an intoxi- 
cating liquor made with a grass, which is perhaps a species of hemp. 
It is very bitter (Cou, ii, 167). 

266. Pineapple juice, an intoxicating liquor, is prepared by peeling 
the fruit and grating it on a sieve, allowing the juice to take its own 
time to ferment. The Arawak have no special word for it, just 
calling it nanna-ura (lit., pine juice). 

267. The wild cashew {Anacardium) similarly yields a very pleas- 
ant alcoholic drink. Arawak call it obudi-ura (lit., cashew juice). 

Cane juice likewise requires no special preparation. While the 
sugar cane is being squeezed in the " mill " (sec. 383) the juice trickles 
down the artificial gutter, whence it is collected. It takes about three 
weeks to fully ferment, and is higlily intoxicating. The doubtfully 
Indian name, on the Pomeroon at least, is warrap : the old-time Suri- 
nam Dutch called it graaf (BER. 23). 

Cujiana, or guarana : The Indians of Yavita (on the Atabapo 
River, a branch of the upper Orinoco) scrape the seeds of a species 
of PaulUnia, mix them with flour of cassava, envelop the mass in 
plantain leaves, and set it to ferment in water till it acquires a saffron 
yellow color. This yellow paste, dried in the sun and diluted in 
water, is taken in the morning as a kind of tea. The beverage is 
bitter and stomachic, but it appeared to me (says Humboldt) to have 
a very disagreeable taste (AVH, ii, 36.5). The PaulUnia above re- 
ferred to is probably P. jr/imata, which is a synonym of Serjania 
cutassainca, the sacobora of the vernacular. 

268. Plantain drink is recorded by Gumilla from the Orinoco. 
Before getting too much sun dried the Indians knead plantains with 
warm water, and the dough, which takes on acidity, is subsequently 
strained with warm water into jars and ferments like must, which 
results in a very strong drink that even in small quantity produces 
drunkenness (G. ii, 239). Couscou was a banana drink ( ?fermented) 
made by the Carib Islanders (RO, 501). Yahe, says Crevaux. is 
an intoxicating liquor made from a certain bark, macerated in water, 
but no further pai'ticulars are given. He met with it among the 
Coreguaje of the upper Yapura River, one of the northern branches 
of the Amazon (Cr, 362). 


269. Of the many nonfermented liquors known to the Indians per- 
haps the most important on the coast lands is that obtained from 
the ite palm, either from the trunk or from the fruits. In the 
former case the tree has to be felled. When fallen, a concavity is 
made in the upper surface about the middle of the trunk, the exca- 
vation is covered with leaves, and in about half an hour's time the 
sap will be found collecting; there. It is drunk without any further 
preparation. This beveraj^e is the Warrau ohi(ju)-liobi (lit., ite 
drink) and the pulke of the Orinoco Indians (G, i. 147). Among 
the Makusi to accelerate the collection of the sap, the upper end of 
the trunk is raised on a scaffolding of about a foot to 18 inches 
high and a fire lighted under its wiiole length (SR. ii, 203). When 
the drink is made from the fruits the tree need not necessarily be 
sacrificed. The large bunches of fruits, when more or less mature, 
are stacked in a close heap and covered with a thick layer of the 
leaves for some four days, at the end of which time the fruits will all 
be found to have dropjDed from their stalks. The Indian then digs a 
pit in the swampy ground about 3 feet wide by 2 feet deep, into 
which the water wells up from below, and into this Tie throws 
basketful after basketful of the fruits. A thick covering, composed 
of many layers of ite leaves, is again placed over the whole, which 
is left as it is for about eight days. By this time the seed coverings 
will have become soft, and hence can be easily scraped off, a pro- 
cedure in which the Indian will probably be assisted by his family, 
who either come and work at it on the spot or carry the mush home 
with them. When removed this soft stuff is mixed, as required, 
with water and a little honey and thus drunk. It tastes good and is 
said to be very fattening. 

270. The turu {Oenocarpus) and manicol {Euterpe edulh) drink, 
being prepai'ed on identical lines may be described together: When 
the fruits are ripe (i. e., black) the palm is felled if the Indian is too 
lazy or unable to climb it. They are packed in baskets and can-ied 
home, where they are placed in a wooden trough and warm water 
poured over them. (Boiling water would render them hard.) Here 
they are left for about 20 minutes, when they will become soft. 
They are then removed from the trough and pounded in a mortar, 
the seeds being either picked out by hand or allowed to remain. The 
mush is drunk with a little honey, and mixed with more or less water 
according to taste, some Indians preferring it thick and others thin. 
In Surinam the Oenocarpua drink was known as kumu (St, i, 391; 
AK, 78-79). The seeds of the In palm {Oenocarpus sp.) taste very 
like those of turu. After softening the skins in tepid water, they are 
drained off and crushed in cold water. Assai is a drink made from 
the Euterpe oleracea (RS, ii, 519). 

60160°— 24 16 


271. The fruit of the awarra palm {Astrocaryum tueumoides) also 
furnishes a common beverage. The soft seed covering is cut off in' 
thin slices, a number of which are pounded up in a mortar so as to 
form a thick paste. This will " keep good " for about three days, 
and during this period portions of it may be mixed with honey or 
sugar water according to taste. In Surinam the drink was prepared 
somewhat differently, according to the account left us by Kappler. 
The ripe fruit was buried in the ground for a day or two, while the 
seed coverings became soft, when they were easily separated by 
pounding. The mush was next overlaid with heliconia leaves, and 
pressed into a plaited basket, and the whole dipped into the cold 
water of a creek where it was kept a few days, whereby the oily sub- 
stance in the thready flesh became more fluid, the outside leaves pre- 
venting the water from getting inside. A handful of this soft stuff 
squeezed into a calabash of water colors it red and gives it an agree- 
able acid-sweet taste. When mixed with sugar it is a delightful 
drink (AK, 144—14")). The paripi palm {Baetris minor) is utilized by 
the Carib for obtaining a sweet drink from the fruit (SR, ii, 418). 
From the arakodak, or arikodako, and hitchia (Byi-sonima s-pi- 
cata) berries, the Arawak names of two plants, onl}^ the latter of 
which I have succeeded in identifying, are obtained drinks by pound- 
ing, picking out the seeds, mixing the remainder with water, and 
straining. Both are used in the Pomeroon district, the former also 
on- the Berbice, where it is spoken of by Dance as " very delicious." 
This author also mentions a drink made from the Hiawaraballi 
berries (probably Protiuvi heptajjhyUum=Burseia. gtiicmensis). the 
tabara-huih of the Akawai, but no further particulars are furnished 
(Da, .'>,5). Other fruits utilized for making drink are the Psidium 
turbinifoni'm, P. pomiferum, and Eugenia sp. (SK, ii. 11, 12). 

Chapter XV 


Carrying nrnl cutting up of the food (272) ; food may be shared (273) ; no 
fixed hours for meals, sexes usually dining separate (274) ; cleaned bands 
(275) ; avoidance of certain foods (276) ; drinking and eating are independent, 
"excuses" for drlnliing (277) ; ceremonial of drinking (278) ; male or female 
attendants (279) ; intoxication (280) : "pick-me-ups" (281). 

272. Whatever game or fish he may have caught, the Arawak, 
Warrau, Carib, or Akawai hunter will never himself bring it to the 
house, the invariable rule being for him to leave it either at some dis- 
tance on the pathway or at the waterside, whence it is the business of 
the women to fetch it. Immediately a bush hog is killed the dorsal 
" stink " gland is cut out and removed, while the pizzle is next in- 
cised, drawn out, and tied in a knot. Two slits in the skin are cut 
down one side of the neck, and through them is passed a fiber string 
of vine, which is wound aroimd the snout so as to draw the creature's 
head well down and over to one side. Each front leg is next tied to 
its corresponding hind leg, and the hunter will now carry the beast 
on his back by passing his arms through the tied limbs, just as if 
they were side straps of a shoulder basket. The fixation of the ani- 
mal's head prevents it dangling over the person carrying it. A deer 
is carried in similar fashion. It is the woman's business to cut up 
and clean all the smaller game, such as acouri ; and man's work to cut 
up the larger, such as tapir, deer, and bush hog, though to the woman 
falls the lot of cleaning and preparing their entrails. The Taruma 
men hunt singly and bring in their own game, clean in the boat the 
fish that they have caught, cut them up ready for the pot, and bring 
them to the house. The Parilaita men will likewise clean the fish in 
the boat before reaching the landing, but will send their women to 
fetch them (JO). 

273. In those cases where the people live in community the food 
so brought in may be proportionately divided bj' the " chief." Thus, 
on the Orinoco, the fishermen, leaving their canoes without touch- 
ing a fish in them, proceed up to their houses to rest. The women 
and boj's, according to the different clans (capitanias) , load up the 
fish and heap it before the doors of the captains. These divide the 
sjjoil in due proj^ortion among the heads of families, according to 
the smaller or larger number of children (G, i, 173). 


236 AETS a:sv ckafts of guiana Indians [eth. 

274. Indians have no fixed hours for their meals. They eat when 
they are hungry, and drink when they are thirsty (FE, 80), which 
would account for their usually eating the moment they awake 
(HiA,29), and at evening when they return from hunting (BA. 325). 
So among the Guinau, their chief meal is in the morning and eve- 
ning, consisting of a pot of fish or meat ; or, for want of them, of a 
sauce made of the leaves and fruits of the capsicum. This is first set 
before the head of the family, who shares it with the men and guests. 
The women afterwards take what is left (ScF, 225). Stedman speaks 
of the Indians tying ropes round their naked boiiies when their ab- 
domens are shrunk with hunger (St, i, 281). Among the Galibi, 
those that are married dine everyone apart, and those that are un- 
married eat all together; and all the women, maids, and little chil- 
dren go to another side of the hut to eat (GB, 28). This would 
seem to be the rule almost everywhere, the two sexes having their 
backs turned to one another. No Indian wife eats with her hus- 
band (St, I, 398). Whatever friendship an Indian may have for his 
wife she never has the satisfaction of eating with him. She waits on 
him. on the contrary, and then goes to eat with her children (FE, 80). 
On the other hand, it is recoi'ded of the Nourague and Acoqua, of 
Cayenne, that they do quite otherwise, for the husband eats with his 
wife, or wives, and children, with admirable agreement and union 
(GB, 28). I have seen the same thing among the Taurepang (Are- 
kuna) at Eoraima. It is usual not to speak or drink during meals. 

275. Hands are washed before and after meals. To dry the hands 
and mouth one will find in the houses on the upper Yary a sort of 
duster (torchon), made of bark (Cr, 118). The Island Carib were 
also noted for their cleanliness in eating and in cooking. They 
always wash their hands carefully before eating, and even in their 
cooking they touch nothing of what they are going to eat except with 
clean hands (RO, 497). The meal is usually placed upon a mat laid 
on the ground. The hand often plays the part of a mat or, rather, a 
plate. Thus, the Oyambi, after the manner of all Indians, do not, like 
us, tear the meat with their teeth, but tear it with their fingers, and 
carry it to the mouth in little pieces. The left hand serves them 
for a plate. With the right hand they take the bit of cassava between 
the third and little fingers, and the meat between the thumb and fore- 
finger. They economize labor in only employing one hand to put 
meat and bread into their mouths (Cr, 206). 

276. Hilhouse has stated that the Carib are very indiscriminate 
in the use of animal food. Nothing comes amiss to them. " Tigers," 
cats, rats, frogs, toads, lizards, and insects are equally welcome wnth 
fish and game. If they show any predilection, it is in favor of fish 
(HiC, 237). The Island Carib, however, seem to have specially 


avoided pig, turtle, and manati, and to have eaten game or anything 
salted only when entertaining their guests (KO, 500) : while among 
certain Surinam Carib snakes and large sea turtle were taboo (AK, 
188). Schoniburgk likewise noted the variations of food eaten by 
different tribes (SR. ii. 434). Of course, among all the tribes certain 
foods were taboo at various times and seasons, as during pregnancy, 
while traveling over water, at certain ceremonies (e. g., puberty, mar- 
riage, death), and particularly so because of their " foreign " origin. 
Such foreign element refers to stranger Indians as well as to Euro- 
peans. The Makusi eat this fish {Doras sp.), but our Akawai threw 
it next morning into the water (Da. '227) ; while of the Orinoco In- 
dians Gmnilla says you would not find a Jew who had such a horror 
of sucking pig and the domestic hog as those said gentiles had : but 
after being instructed and baptized they would go mad after it (G, 
I, 119). Schomburgk was asked not to eat sugar cane or sugar while 
his Indian friend was making the curare poison (sec. 122). In a 
former work (WER, vi. sees. 242-261) I have fully detailed the whole 
subject of food tal)oo. 

277. It is true that Indians drink but little or nothing at their 
ordinary meals until they have finished eating, and then commonly 
drink one draft; but when they assemble together for a drinking 
party they keep up the revelry vintil they have drunk up all their 
liquor; and this may. on occasion, last for three or four days (GB, 
50-52). As soon as an individual has drunk all he can he will vomit 
it up and drink more. This vomiting is to some extent part of 
the festivities, because he never once leaves his seat (AK. 186) or 
hammock. Coudreau has seen an individual drink after this fashion 
4 or 5 liters of cassiri in half an hour (Cou, ii, 311). At Poika, in 
Surinam, Joest describes meeting with a " drinking " canoe having 
a capacity of 2,000 liters (WJ, 91). As with their more civilized 
brethren, excuses for such debaucheries were never lacking : Hold- 
ing a council of war; the return from such an expedition (whether suc- 
cessful or not) ; the birth of their first born male child; the cutting 
of their children's hair; upon reaching the age to join in battle; 
upon the clearing of a field (when the drinking party is known by 
a special tei'm — e. g., massaramanni (Ara.), kai-appa (War.)); 
launching a new ship ; convalescence after illness, etc. ; all helped to 
serve the Island Carib with opportunities for a good old " drunk " 
(RO, 511). In Cayenne the mainland Carib would have a drinking 
feasrt when commencing to build, as well as when launching, the vessel 
(GB, 50-52) . Such drinking is invariably combined with dancing. 

278. Perhaps dependent upon the object for which the drinking 
feast was given, so might variations take place in its so-called cere- 
monial. The following account is given by Schomburgk of what took 


place among the Akawai, on the Barima River, at a drinking party, 
the master of ceremonies proceeding as follows: "Shortly after sun- 
down he took his big bamboo, wound round with long threads, to 
which thevetia seeds were attached, and gave the signal for the dance 
to begin. The men all sprang out of their hammocks and surrounded 
the paiwarri trough in a half circle at a distance from it. The M. C, 
■bending down, takes two steps toward the trough and then one 
back^'ard, and repeats this slowly right around the receptacle. This 
to-and-fro movement is taken up by the people in the circle, but these 
keep themselves erect, each individual placing his left hand upon the 
right shoulder of his neighbor. And as they all proceed round, their 
movements are regulated by a song, but the meaning of the words has 
been lost; the words have been handed down from father to son. 
The M. C. sings first one word and the others then take it up in chorus. 
After the procession had circled the trough several times the dancers 
took breath, and then let out a fearful yell (sec. 583). The women 
now came forward, filled the calabashes from the trough, and handed 
the drinks round'" (SR. i, 206). When drinks are thus offered the 
calabash will be handed by the distributor to the head of the visitors, 
who will sip it and pass it on to the next, and so on. When emptied 
it will be handed back in exactly the reverse order to the chief visitor, 
who returns it to the person who originally gave it to him. 

279. It is usually but not always the rule for the women to hand 
round the drinks at a party (sec. 902). while to refuse a drink tends 
to cause suspicion and distrust and to change friendship into hatred 
(SR, I 207). The drink is distributed by one of the prettiest young 
girls, who keeps three or four fingers inside the calabash and the 
thumb outside and so offers . . . the Indians the way to drink, with- 
out anyone touching it with hand or finger, except onty when he has 
had enough and pushes the calabash away from him. The larger 
the company the gi-eater the nimiber of girls who hand round the 
drink; in want of these, the women also take on the job (BER. 4G). 
This will perhaps explain the idea of secreting the poison under the 
finger nail when revenge is contemplated (sec. 734). 

280. As to intoxication at a drinking feast, certain women, as well 
as certain men, whose business it is to keep sober especially for the 
purpose, hide away all weapons on the first signs of inebriety. The 
women will carry some of the disturbers of the peace to their ham- 
mocks and tie them up firm (SR, i, 208) — a position from which no 
amount of exertion or raging can free them, and where, with con- 
tinued swinging, they soon fall into a deep sleep (SR, i, 179). The 
same plan is followed on the Pomeroon at the present day, where it 
is usually the house master or mistress, perhaps both, who purposely 
keep sober to put an immediate stop to any rows and disputes arising. 


Pinckard, speaking of the Arawak Indians on the Berbice, says: 
'' Tiiey are very fond of drinking rum and eagerly swallow it to in- 
toxication. But they observe a kind of method in their drunkenness, 
for when they come to the towns in bodies of considerable number it 
is remarked that half the party will freely devote to Bacchus, while 
the other half carefully refrain, in order to watch the helpless; and 
these, when restored by sleep, are observed to take their turn of 
watching, and to guard their late protectors through similar visits 
to the deities of turbulence and repose. They have no pleasure in 
long sipping, but swallow large drafts of rum or drink quickly glass- 
ful after glassful till they are unable to move " (Pnk, i, 519). 

281. Schomburgk says it was apparent that the Akawai on the 
Barima ate the snail. Ampidlarm urceus Fers, as a " pick-me-up " for 
the nervous system after a "spree," in the same way as herring salad 
is used among the Germans (SB, i, 208). The same traveler speaks 
of another sfjecies, A. orm-occoensis Ziegler. as being eaten by Carib 
on the upper Pomeroon (SE, ii, 425). the text showing that the In- 
dians had been drinking the night before. A more drastic remedy 
would seem to have been in vogue in Surinam, where plaited mats 
and girdles, with stinging ants attached, would be placed upon the 
backs of the helplessly intoxicated guests (WJ, 91). 

Chapter XVI 


Tobacco: Preparation (282); smoking (2<S3) : chewing (284): licking (28-ji. 
Yupo, niopo, or parica (Piptadenia) (286) ; Ypadu ( Ei-iithr/jjfiiloii) (287^ : 
Caapi (Banisteiia) (288): Capsicums (289). 

288. Tobacco {Nicotiana tabacum). — The term tobacco does not 
appear to have been a commonly used original name for the plant. 
It has come to us from a peculiar instrument used for inhaling its 
smoke by the inhabitants of Hispaniola (iSanto Domingo). The 
instrument described by Oviedo in his Historia de las Indias Occi- 
dentales, Salamanca, 1535. consisted of a small hollow wooden tube 
shaped like a Y, the two points of which, being inserted into the 
nose of the smoker, the other end was held into the smoke of burning 
tobacco, and thus the fumes were inhaled. This apparatus the natives 
called "tabaco," but it must be said that the smoking pipe of the 
continental tribes was entirely different from the imperfect " tabaco '' 

of the Caribees. Benzoni, on the 
other hand, whose travels in 
America in 1542-1556 were pub- 
lished in 1565, says that the 
Mexican name of the herb was 
" tabacco " (Encycl. Brit., 9th 
edit., xxm, 423) . 

At eveiy Indian settlement 
some tobacco plants will be 
found cultivated in the provision 
fields. According to the statement of the Wapishana, wild tobacco 
grows at Mount Urawai, on the upper Takutu (SE, ii, 77). When 
once planted, no further attention is paid to it, and the leaf is 
cured in the most simple manner, by being hung up in the Indian's 
hut (ScD, 109). The leaves are plucked when the blossom 
" bursts." They are sometimes, though not always, dipped in 
honey; under any circumstances they are hung up until they com- 
mence to get yellow. After that the leaves are evenly arranged, 
side by side, and are lightly tied in bundles the size of one's fist. As 
the leaves dry the strings round the bundles are drawn tighter and 
tighter, until it is evident that no further diminution will take place 
in the bulk (IT, 317). On the Eio Aiary the leaves are slowly dried 
on a sifter in the neighborhood of the fireplace, dampened again, 
and pounded in a mortar. By means of a bark band and smaller 
strips the leaves are now made up into a flat circular cake (fig. 65) 

Fig. 05. — Tobacco bciug pressed. .Viary Hiver. 




and dried in the sun in this elastic press, which is tightened up from 
time to time (KG, i, 140). All over the Amazon Valley tobacco is 
grown and manufactured, the leaves being bound round together 
with the split stem of a climbing palm into long rods of about 2 
inches in diameter and 4 or 5 feet in length, tapering off to a point 
at both ends (BL. 102). In this form it may be met in Surinam 
among the Oyana and Trio 
(GOE, pi. vm, fig. 11), and 
in our own colony. 

283. If tobacco is to be 
smoked it is smoked only in 
the form of cigarettes, the 
paper-like substance obtained 
from the bark of certain trees, 
sometimes leaves, being em- 
ployed as wrappers. In the 
case of the kakaralli or sapu- 
cayanut (Leci/fhisspY).) along 
strip of bark of exactly the 
width required is cut from the 
tree with straight sides and 
ends. From this the outer 
rough bark is removed. Witli 
a thick short stick the Indian 
then repeatedly strikes the cut 
edge of one end of the inner 
bark with a peculiar but inde- 
scribable knack so as to sepa- 
rate it into a great many even- 
surfaced sheets (IT, 317). 
AVith tJie Courataria guianen- 
sis Aubl. of the lower Ama- 
zons (S-M, 918) it would seem 
that the bark is cut in long 
strips, of a breadth suitable fig. 
for folding the tobacco. The 
inner portion is then separated, boiled, hammered with a wooden mal- 
let, and exposed to the air for a few hours (HWB, 164) . Other mate- 
rials that maj' be used for cigarette wrappers are leaves of Indian corn, 
as practiced by the Maiongkong (ScF, 237) , and the inner lining of the 
spathe of the manicol. After the cigarette is made the wrapper is pre- 
vented from opening by being tied either at the center or at the ends 
with a very thin strip of corresponding material, not into a knot, but 
into a twist. On the upper Rio Negro is to be met what is practically a 


-Ciffar hoklt? 
after ARW ; 

fs of the Uaupes Indians. 
B, C, D, after KG, i.) 


cigar from 8 to 10 inches long and an inch in diameter, made of tobac- 
co, pounded and dried, and inclosed in a cylinder made of a large leaf 
spirally twisted. It is placed in a cigar holder about 2 feet long, like a 
great two-pronged fork (pi. 52, A; fig. 66). The bottom of the 
holder is pointed, so that when not in use it can be stuck in the ground 
(AKW, 206, 352). Such cigar holders with contained cigars are 
haiided round on occasions of festivity ( AEW, 195 ; KG, i, 282) . The 
degree to which the smoking habit prevails varies in different tribes. 
With the Carib both sexes are great smokers, even children at an 
early age commencing to indulge in the custom (ScB, 192). Among 
the Gualaquiza Jiraros. . . great festivities are held when a child is. 
at 3 or 4 years of age, initiated into the art and mysteries of smoking 
(AS, 92). Among the Arekuna, Appun speaks of tobacco being 
smoked in clay-headed pipes with a bamboo stem. The women were 
debarred from smoking (App, ii, 309). The Trio women were never 
seen smoking (GO. 26). Akawai, male and female, make almost 
continual use of tobacco (BR, 276). Among the Ouitoto each takes 
three whiffs and passes the cigar to his neighbor (Cr, 371) . Certainly 
with the old Arawak on the Pomeroon it appears to have been tlieir 
nightly practice to make one or two cigarettes ready for the following 
morning, slipping them, within easy reach, between the scale lines of 
their hammocks. While smoking the spent ashes are licked up (sec. 
285) with the tongue as occasion arises. They may ahnost be said to 
be consumed. 

284. If tobacco is to be chewed it is mixed witli certain ashes or 
salt. The ashes are obtained from a species of fresh- water alga, 
Mourera jiuviatUls Aubl., called by the Indians oulin, huja, weya, 
etc., which they gather from the rocks in the falls and rapids of many 
rivers. It is of a pleasant salt taste, and is mixed with fine strips 
of Indian-cm-ed tobacco, and kept in little goobies or gourds with 
a small opening. A stick to use as a fork is placed in the gourd, its 
upper extremity projecting through the stopjaer, so that the stopper 
acts as cork to the gourd, and as both guard and handle to the fork. 
The mixture of oulin and tobacco, which is moist and agi'eeable to 
the taste of a user of tobacco, is called kawai. It is kejjt in the 
mouth, in a very small quantity at a time, and answers the purpose 
of plugs of chewing tobacco. Two falls in the Ireng Elver, and one 
in the Cotinga Eiver, at about 50 miles distance from Eoraima. are 
called Orin-doui or Olin-toueuk, the falls of the ourin or oulin 
(Da, 197). It is to these Orindoui Falls on the Ireng that the Pata- 
mona Indians come for the purpose of collecting this plant (BE. 
281). In the Patamona houses it was very common to see bags of 
leaf, tied round with a string and hung a few feet over the fire. 


.t, Tukauo smoking cisar in special holder. (Aflcr Kocii- 

B, Method of snuffliig piptadenia among the Guitoto. (After CrCvaux.) 



~ 5 

o = s 

DC .= * 

2 3 

5 I 




'S so 

u .2 

2 2 '2 

— < 3 

— en 

Q . 5 

^ |l 

CO |3 

L_ ^ S 

< = a 

CE ■/> a 

Si ii 

; a 

i M 

in -J 


These bags contained the oulin which, if not continually kept dry 
by this means, would melt. The following procedure given by Brett 
(Br. 276). as quoted from McClintock. was adoj^ted by the Akawai 
for preparing the chewing mixture : " They take from the stalk as 
many green leaves as will cover the pan on which their cassava is 
baked. Over this layer of tobacco leaves they sprinkle the salt (oulin) . 
then another layer of gi'een leaves, and salt as before. This must be re- 
peated until the whole becomes 1 inch or more in tliickness. A slow 
fire is then applied to the pan. and after the cake, if such it may be 
called, is jsartially heated, it is removed and distributed among a 
number of small calabashes, where it remains imtil ' quids ' be in 
demand; not, liowever. to be chewed, but to be kept simply between 
the lips. By this method the teeth are preserved, hunger appeased 
(Indians always assure me of this), and thirst is quenched." 

B. Brown' gives a none too pleasant description of Indians in- 
dulging in the habit : " Every man and nearly every youth [Akawai] 
had a dirty greenish pellet . . . held between his lips, which he 
rolled about every now and then. A dark greenish juice oozed from 
it, staining the lips, and sometimes trickling down from the comers 
of the mouth, the presence of the ball causing their lips to separate 
and protnule (BB. 64). Among the Arekuna the tobacco leaves 
are not dried., but finely chopped up while still fresh, and with a 
black niter-containing earth (which they collect in the savanna), 
kneaded to a dough, out of which the small balls are made " (SE., ii, 
239). Schomburgk had not observed tobacco chewing in any other 

285. Ouitoto of the upper Yapura have a peculiar practice of 
tobacco licking, a sort of ceremonial oath taking. Tobacco leaves are 
cooked with water to a sirupy consistency into which the fore and 
middle fingers are dipped and then licked off (KG, ir, 302). 

286. Piptadenia peregrina Benth. {=Mimosa acaeioides Bentli.) 
yupa, niopo, parica. etc. — Gumilla has furnished us with the follow- 
ing particulars from the Orinoco : " The Otomac intoxicate them- 
selves with certain evil powders, which they call yupa. inhaled 
through the nostrils. Their judgment entirely* leaves them, and, 
maddened, they take up arms. "Were it not for the women being so 
smart in intercepting and preventing them they would l>e committing 
cruel outrages daily. They make the said powders of certain plants, 
from yupa. which gives them their name. These simply have the 
smell of strong tobacco. It is what is added through the ingenuity 
of the devil that causes the intoxication and madness. After having 
eaten certain large snails, met with on lands subject to inundation, 
the shells are placed on the fire and reduced to lime. This lime is 
mixed with the yupa in equal quantities. So strong is the mixture 


that even if the finger wliich has only touched it is placed near the 
nose a fit of sneezing results. The Otomac use it before going into 
battle with the Carib. The Saliva as well as other Indians employ 
yupa, but as they are meek, good-tempered, and faint-hearted nations 
they do not become so infuriated as our Otomac" (G, i, 181). 
About a century later Humboldt, traveling among the Otomac, 
speaks of the preparation of the drug as follows : " They gather the 
long pods . . . cut them into pieces, moisten them, and cause them to 
ferment. When the softened seeds begin to grow black they are 
kneaded like a paste, mixed with some cassava flour and lime pro- 
cured from the shell of a helix, and the whole mass is exposed to a 
very brisk fire, on a gridiron made of hardwood. The hardened paste 
takes the form of small cakes. When it is to be used it is reduced to a 
fine powder and placed on a dish 5 or 6 inches wide. The Otomac 
holds this dish, which has a handle, in his right hand, while he in- 
hales the niopo by the nose, through the forked bone of a bird, the 
two extremities of which are applied to the nostrils. This bone, 
without which the Otomac believes that he could not take this kind 
of snuff, is 7 inches long. It appeared to me to be the leg bone of a 
large sort of plover. The niopo is so stimulating that the smallest 
poi"tions of it produce violent sneezing in those who are not ac- 
customed to its use" (AVH, ii, 505). Along the main shore of the 
Parima River, below Fort San Joachim. Schomburgk found numerous 
trees of this mimosa, the seeds of which are used by several tribes of 
Indians along the Rios Amazon and Negro, as the Uaupes, Puros, etc. 
They are pounded to powder and the smoke inhaled, or the powder is 
put into the eyes, nose, and ears, which jiroduce-s a state of intoxication 
or madness which lasts for hours, and during which time the In- 
dians have no command of themselves or their passions. A general 
stupor succeeds, which sometimes lasts for days (ScE, 182; SR, ii, 
103). Bates gives the following description of the manufacture and 
use of the drug among the Mura of the lower Amazon : " The seeds 
are dried in the sun, pounded in wooden mortars, and kept in bamboo 
tubes. When they are ripe, and the snuff-making season sets in, they 
have a fuddling bout lasting many days, which the Brazilians call a 
quarentena, and which forms a kind of festival of a semireligious 
character. They begin by drinking large quantities of caysiima and 
cashiri, fermented drinks made of various fruits and mandioca, but 
they prefer casha^a or rum when they can get it. In a short time 
they drink themselves into a soddened, semi-intoxicated state, and 
then commence taking the parica. For this purpose they pair off, 
and each of the partners taking a reed containing a quantity of the 
snuff, after going through a deal of unintelligible mummery, blows 
the contents with all his force into the nostrils of his companion. 
The effect ... is wonderful. They become exceedingly talkative. 


sing, shout, and leap about in the wildest excitement. A reaction 
soon follows. More drinking is then necessary to rouse them from 
their stupor, and thus tl\e\ carry on for many days in succession. 
The Mauhe also use the paricii. although it is not known among 
their neighbors, the Mundurucu. . . . The Mauhe keep it in the 
form of a paste and employ it chiefly as a preventive against ague in 
the months between the dry and wet seasons, when the disease pre- 
vails. When a dose is required a small quantity of the paste is dried 
and pulverized on a flat shell and the powder then drawn up into 
l)oth nostrils at once through two vulture quills, secured together by 
cotton thread. The use of parica was found by the early travelers 
amongst the Omagua, a section of the Tupi who formerly lived on 
the upper Amazon. 1.000 miles distant from the homes of the Mauhe 
and Miira " (HWB. 169). De la Condamine thus relates how the 
Omagua make use of two sorts of plants, one of which is called by 
the Spaniards " floripondio," whose flower, resembling a bell turned 
upside down, has been described by Father Feuillee ; the other, in the 
language of Omagua. is named curupa. some seeds whereof I have 
brought with me. Both of these are cathartic or purging. But these 
people make use of them to intoxicate themselves therewith, for the 
space of 2-4 horu-s, dui'ing which time they have strange visions. They 
take also the curupa reduced to powder as we do snuff, but with some- 
what more formality. They make use of a pipe formed out of a reed 
and ending in a fork: in short, shaped like a Y; each of the branches 
of this instrument they put into one of their nostrils, which operation, 
being followed by a violent drawing in of their breath, causes them 
to screw up their faces, after a manner very ridiculous to a Euro- 
pean, who would have evervthing conformable to his own customs 
(LCo, 36). 

Within still more recent years, Crevaux (Cr, 550), when traveling 
through the country of the (iuahibo ( = Guajiva of the Meta Eiver 
referred to by Gnmilla). mentions how at every instant they put 
to their nostrils a blackish brown powder resembling snuff to- 
bacco, both in color and odor, very finely ground, and which they 
call yopo. He further tells us that in order to obtain it they roast 
the green seeds . . . and pulverize it with calcined snail shells 
(Cr, 550). This snuif was apparently identical with the aromatic 
powder of a composition unknown to him, to which he had previ- 
ously referred as taken by the Ouitoto (of the Yapura River) 
in so peculiar a manner, and now identified as the J'upa or parica 
snuff. Its manner of use, by means of a special apparatus, is thus 
described by him: "Their snuffbox is formed of a large BuUmii.s 
shell, of which the base is covered over with a bat's wing fixed with 
balata. The extremity of the cone carries a hollow bone, through 
which one pours an aromatic powder (pi. 53 B). To bring the dust 


to the nostrils they employ a blower composed of two hollow 
bird bones fixed with balata. One branch being introduced into 
the mouth and the other into the nostril, a puff of breath is suffi- 
cient to send the powder into the more remote portions of the 
mucous membrane. This is the method emploA'ed by the egoist. 
Sociable people have another device — two bones arranged like an X. 
Friends draw near (pi. 52 B), blow togetlier, and mutually give one 
another a pinch of snuff " (Cr, 371). And, subsequently to Crevaux, 
E. A. Wallace obtained from the Guahibo a curious powder, which is 
taken like snuff and has the effect of making them drunk. . . . They 
were evidently in a happy state while under its influence. He says: 
"This yopa (in Spanish spelled llopa) is probably known in other 
parts, as I have heard the word enllopado used by the New Grena- 
dians as signifying drunk" (Ti, Dec. 87, p. 317). In the present 
century mention has been made of the preparation and use of the 
drug on the Tiquie, a branch of the Rio Negro (KG, i, 323), where 
it is kept either in a snail shell or in a small spherical calabash. Its 
use is also recorded on the Apaporis (KG, ii, 290). 

287- Erythroxyloti coca Lam., ypadu, ipadu. — " On the upper Ama- 
zon the half-caste and Indian women, after middle age, are nearly all 
addicted to the use of yiDadu, the powdered leaves of erythroxylon 
coca. . . . Persons who indulge in ypadu at Ega are held in such 
abhorrence that they keep the matter as secret as possible. . . . 
They plant their little plots of the tree in retired nooks in the forest 
and keep their stores of the powder in hiding places. ... I once 
[says Bates] had an opportunity of seeing it made at the house of a 
Maraua Indian on the banks of tlie Jutahi. The leaves were dried on 
a mandioca oven and afterward pounded in a verj' long and narrow 
wooden mortar. When about half pulverized a number of the large 
leaves of tlie C'ecrojyia pahnata (candelabrum tree) were burned on the 
floor and the ashes dirtih^ gathered up and mixed with the powder " 
(HWB, 283). The drug is also referred to on the Tiquie (KG, i, 
266-267) and on the Apaporis (KG, ii, 290). (See pi. 53 C.) 

288. Banisteria caapi Griseb., caapi. — Among the Guahibo (Ori- 
noco River) the piai warms over the fire a little yellow root known by 
this name and chews it when he has to make a cure. It has intoxicat- 
ing properties (Cr, 536). Compare tliis with what is said by E. A. 
Wallace of the same tribe: " They chew the wood of a curious liana, 
which has the same effect as the leaves of the erythroxylon coca. They 
can travel great distances existing only on the wood of this plant 
and do not feel the want of any other sustenance " (Ti, Dec, 1887, p. 
317). The first mention of this drug, liowever, on the Rio Negro 
among the Uaupes River Indians, who drink the infusion, appears to 
have been made by A. R. Wallace: "Presently (after the caxiri) the 




caapi was introduced. An old man comes forward with a large, newly 
painted earthen pot. which he sets down in the middle of the house. 
He then scjuats behind it. stirs it about, and takes out two small cala- 
bashfuls. which he holds up in each hand. After a moment's pause 
two Indians advance with bows and arrows or lances in their hands. 
Each takes the proffered cup and drinks, makes a wry face, for it is 
intensely bitter, and stands 
motionless perhaps half a 
minute. They then with a start 
twang their bows, shake their 
lances, stamp their feet, and re- 
turn to their scats. The little 
bowls are again filled and two 
others succeed them with a 
similar result. Some, however, 
become more excited, etc." 
( AKW, 205) . Spruce says that 
the cupbearer must be a man, 
because no woman can touch 
or taste caapi (ES, ii, 419). 
Half a century later Koch- 
Griinberg reported the drug 
from the same area, described 
its preparation, the special type 
of colored earthen jar (pi. 5.3 A) 
in which it is invariably kept 
(KG, I, 298), and mentions the 
fact of certain rattle spears and shields only being employed on occa- 
sions of caapi drinking " (KG, i, 345). 

289. Capsicum. — The use of peppers as a stimulant and excitant 
by the Makusi of the Eupununi might be included here. A small 
gourd (fig. 67) with an elongate neck, laiown as kassakra, is filled 
with crushed peppers and water. It is inserted into the nostril of 
the patient suffering with headache and the contents poured in (V. 
Eoth). In the Pomeroon district it is a very common practice for 
the Indian women to give capsicum enemata to themselves and chil- 
dren by means of an apparatus made from the bladder of any of the 
larger-sized animals (sec. 921). 

FlG. 67. — Oourds for pouring pepper juice 
into the nostrils. Makusi. 

Chapter XVII 

Conditions affecting site (290). 

Protection ami defenses, palisades (291). 

Cliange of residence (292). 

Banabs or temporary shelters: Rectangular (293); triangular (294); lean-to 

I'ortable rain shelters (296). 
Outhouses (297). 

Permanent houses, classification of: 
Lean-to (298). 
Arched (299). 

Circular: Distribution (300); construction of framework (301); walls 
(302) ; door (303) : variations with two main posts (304) ; with three 
(30.5) : with none (306). 
Elliptical (307). 
Nomenclature (308). 

Rectangular: With one semicircular end (309); with both ends vertical 
(310). In the Pomeroon district (311) : in Cayenne (312) ; nomencla- 
ture (313). 
Pile aud other dwellings (314-317). 
Thatch and how used (318-324). decoration (325). 
Furniture (326). 
Houses in the islands (327). 

290. The evidence appears to be far from satisfactory as to the 
conditions limiting the choice of site upon which an Indian will 
build his house. On the one hand, selection may depend upon pur- 
poses of concealment, and on the other upon suitability of observa- 
tion for the approach of enemies. Thus it is said of the Demerara 
Indians that they very seldom erected their houses upon the immedi- 
ate banks of the river, and whenever they happened to fix upon a 
situation near to it, they were careful to leave some of the bush stand- 
ing for the purpose of concealing the building. More frequently 
they established their dwellings upon the borders of the creeks, or 
within the woods at some distance from the river (Pnk, n, 227). 
The situation of a settlement on the top of an exposed hill may rea- 
sonably be deemed, inter alia, an advantage for the inmates in 
keeping watch over the surrounding country through which their 
enemies may be lurking. An open terrain offered much less chance 
to the approach of an enemy not being noticed : likewise, the setting up 
of the provision grounds at a great distance from the residence rested 


perhaps upon the same foundation. In Surinam, when choosing a 
new residence, the i-edsiiins, says Penard, note whether the kind of 
clay out of which they manufacture their pottery is present or not, 
and since this clay is mostly found in the savannas it comes to pass 
that most Carib villages are to be found on the edge of a savanna. 
At any and every settlement the houses would bear no regular ar- 
rangement, the one with the other; just built here, there, and evei'y- 
where, close to or distant from one another. (PEN, i, 97, 98.) 

291. While it would appear that some of the island Arawak houses 
were palisaded (RO, 529), examples of similar constructions re- 
corded on the mainland are rare. The first to draw attention to a 
palisade was Yon Berkel, who, during his residence on the Berbice 
between 1670 and 1G74, saw them at two Arawak villages on the 
cross path to the Demerara River. This is what he says : " The house 
at Ouden Amen, wherein we had slept at night, was one of those 
wherein the Indians defend themselves from hostile attacks. Such 
hostilities were practiced on various villages during my stay out 
there. It had a length of about 120 to 130 feet and a breadth of 
between 30 and 40, and was invested around with palisades as thick 
as an ordinary spar, with some openings between the spaces to shoot 
through, for which object they have recourse to their arrow and bow, 
not knowing how to defend themselves in any other manner. I saw 
likewise therein nothing in the world but bows and arrows. These 
houses, which have to be maintained by the villagers collectively, 
are thatched with leaves of an uncommon size ... In case of fire 
the whole roof can be hurriedly cut away" (BER, 29). There was 
also at Naby an arsenal, just as in Ouden Amen village, but it was 
falling down, the reason being that as the area was so densely popu- 
lated by the whites the Indians trusted themselves to their care and 
vigilance (BER, 32). In more recent times the elder Schomburgk 
speaks of an Arekuna settlement at Arawayam Botte being inclosed 
or barricaded, he himself noting that in this respect the settlement 
differed from others that he had seen (ScF, 205). His younger 
brother also came across two cases, again in Arekuna territor}', near 
the Carimang and Carapu Rivers, respectively (SR, ii, 344, 347). 
Appun subsequently reported them on the upper Mazaruni at an 
Akawai settlement above Cako Creek and at Hanare village, where 
four houses were inclosed. In the former case the palisade consisted 
of posts about 10 feet high stuck into the grormd close to one another, 
which by means of several crosspieces all boiuid together with vine 
rope, maintained great strength. It stretched a fair distance away 
round the compound. Only a small door that was barred at night 
led into the settlement. It served as a protection against surprise 

60160°— 24 17 


attacks of enemy Indians, as well as nocturnal visits of jaguars 
(App, II, 177, 179). The same traveler mentions a Makusi dwelling 
on the Inamara (Wanamaru) Eiver with a huge incomplete palisad- 
ing 20 feet high around it (App, ni, 368). It may be interesting to 
note that reference is made to a palisade around an Arawak strong- 
hold in the Folk-lore (WEE, vi, 383). 

Bancroft is I'esponsible for the statement that, in order to prevent 
reprisals from their interior neighbors, whom they raid for slaves, 
the Akawai arrange that all the avenues to their houses are guarded 
by sharp pieces of hardwood, planted in the earth, and poisoned, ex- 
cept only one obscure winding patli, which they use themselves and 
make known to their countrymen by private marks (BA, 268-269). 
So also in Cayemie, on the pathways leading to the cleared spaces, 
the Oyapock Eiver Indians often place pointed haixlwood sticks in 
the ground, after the manner of chevaux de f rise, to prevent a passage 
(Cr, 169). On the other hand, among the Cayenne Galibi, the sense 
of security which these savages enjoyed was such that nothing was 
closed in. The doors were always open and entrance was free to 
anyone (PBA, 143). 

292. Speaking of the Surinam Indians, Fermin mentions how they 
often changed their place of abode, but is in doubt whether this was 
due to fickleness (inconstance) or by way of precautionary meas-" 
ures (FE, 57). Schomburgk has also drawn attention to the unset- 
tled habits of the Indian and his want of attachment to localities 
(ScA, 308). Among others, he gives the case of a Makusi chief- 
tain whom he had left comfortably settled in a substantial house 
at Aunuay, with no thought at the time of leaving his residence and 
rich provision fields at tlie foot of the Pacaraima Mountains, subse- 
quently felling trees at Berbice and toiling to put but a small spot 
of woodland under cultivation for subsistence (ScA, 305). Hil- 
house has also reported on the migratory habits of the Akawai (Hi A, 
31 ) ; that it is one of the greatest inconveniences of travel in their 
country; that a populous village one year may be totally deserted 
the next and the inhabitants a thousand miles off (HiA, 34). Among 
the causes for change of residence may be noted trading, and in 
former times fighting expeditions, but very commonly the presence 
of disease or of a death, especially that of a chief, and not infre- 
quently the exhaustion of provision grounds or scarcity of water in 
the immediate neighborhood. It has been stated that the Warrau 
on the Waini had often to leave their settlements owing to a scourge 
of chigoes (SE, i, 129). On the death of the house master the 
building may cease to be occupied, and thus allowed to go to ruin, 
or it may be burned (e. g., Arawak, Carib). 

293. The banab or temporary shelter is so called from the Arawak 
term tobanna-abu (i. e., leaf with stalk), the materials of which it is 




manufactured. The Warrau name is nabakobahi and the Makusi 
one tapui. A banab is not only built whenever an Indian is on a 
hunting or fishing expedition, or is for any reason away from home, 
during the rainy season, but for occasional brief use at some place 
of repeated resort, either a good fishing ground or where turtle 
aboimd, or where some desirable plant grows, or for some similar 
reason (IT, 208). On the Waini they are said to have been kept in 
I'epair, and their presence in the close neighborhood indicated by 

Fiii. 68. — Baiiabs or temporary shelters. A, Reot.Tngnlar type ; B, triangular. 

posts on the river bank (SR. i. 218). Arawak. Warrau. Carib, Ma- 
kusi, Patamona. and Arekuna may make it of the same pattern — 
four uprights strengthened by oblique supports tied with bush 
ropes (fig. 68 A). At either end the upriglits are tied together 
at their extremities with crosspieces, upon which the two lowest 
main horizontal sticks are laid. The roof is then gradually closed 
in with four to six pairs of similar horizontal laths, each pair 
being not only successively approximated but also at the same 
time raised by resting them on progressively shorter sidepieces, 



(ETH. ANN. 3S 

until the final single ridgepole is reached. All the timbers com- 
posing the roof are kept in position with vine roj^e, and it is hardly 
necessary to add that in all examples of banab any saplings of con- 
venient size and position, if present, will be utilized in situ for the 
uprights. Leaves of various palms (e. g., kokerit, turn, lu, manicol), 
of the agave, wild plantain, etc., are lastly put on for a roof covering. 
The Makusi have a special name, walamuri (land turtle), for this 
particular kind of banab : the roof is supposed to represent the ani- 
mal's carapace. 

294. Among the Carib, Patamona, Arawak, Makusi, etc., the banab 
may be built on a triangular framework or "marudi-tail," as it is 
called (fig. 68 B), with two uprights composing the one extremity 
exactly like that in the Arawak structure just described. All the 
horizontal bars, together with the ridgepole, converge to a third post 
or suitable sapling, to which they will be tied at a somewhat higher 

n level. By this means the 

i^*^ rain will have a better 
chance of running off the 
leaves with which the 
scaffolding will be subse- 
quently covered. 

There is a simpler de- 
sign for this triangular 
form of banab adopted 
not only by Patamona but 
also by Makusi and Wapi- 
shana, where the intrica- 
cies of the gable end are all 
done away with, and we have the two uprights held together with a 
crosspiece, upon which the two horizontal sidepieces rest (fig. 69). 
These are similarly tied on the slope to a third post, and crosspieces 
attached to them from above. On the first occasion that I saw two 
such triangular banabs attached to the one tree I could scarcely dispel 
the idea which immediately arose that possibly some such arrange- 
ment of two or three similar structures arranged round the one central 
post might have given rise to the conception of the circular houses 
met with among these people. Subsequent investigation, however, 
has made me think differently. 

295. A banab, in the shape of a lean-to, is of very common occur- 
rence. In its simplest form tins may be composed of two uprights 
(posts, saplings in situ, etc.). joined by a crosspiece from -t to 5 feet 
off the ground, against which any large leaves (e. g., truli, kokerit) 
are pressed, with their stalks stuck into the ground. On the other hand, 
the same shape of banab may be built with a similar scaffolding (pi. 
54) as its permanent prototype (sec. 298), though in miniature. 

Fig. 69. — Simpler form of triangular banab. 

,.^.iK'.UUk^xj-' ^^^^^ ■.' mill' '-^-.i^' I fW/iT^-' 

i:J. li 'i ?^ 


































But the framework of sticks may be clone away with in its entirety if 
it is to afford shelter from rain only for an hour or two, when the 
banab consists only of a few leaves of some palm, laid flat one upon 
the other, and the stalks, which are bound to«rether. stuck into the 
ground at such an angle that the natural curve of the leaf affords 
some shelter (IT. 208). 

2%. A portion of truli or other similarly large leaf affords a port- 
able rain shelter, which is discarded after use. There are, however, 
certain specially plaited ones of the Arawak, Carib, and Warrau 
made from manicol leaf that are brought into requisition time after 
time (pi. 55). They may be balanced on the head, or. if the wind be 
fairly sti'ong, held in position with a hand. They may occasionally be 
used as a sail on a corial (sec. 797). 

297. There are certain outhouses which, in a sense, combine more 
or less the order of structure of the banab with that of the permanent 
house. These may be either the kitchen, the sleeping quarters of one 
or both sexes, the stranger's house, or the women's retiring quarters 
during menstruation or confinement. The last mentioned, to be seen 
among the Warrau. certain of the older Moruca River Arawak, etc., 
may be distinguished by having tied onto them, in some conspicuous 
place, often the corners, some bundles of spent ite — i. e., the young 
leaf after removal of the outer cortex for fiber making. 

298. A convenient method of classification for permanent huts and 
houses is according to their methods of construction, whether in the 
form of a lean-to, an arched roof, a circular elliptical or rectangular 
ground-plan, and if built on posts or piles. Crevaux says of the Trio 
on the upper Parou, Cayenne, that their houses are less complete 
than those of the Oyampi and Ouayana. Not only have they no floor, 
but some of them are only covered on one side. They are simple 
shelters, not at all more complete than the ajoupas (banabs), which 
one constructs when traveling (Cr, 276). In fact, an interesting 
comparison can be made between this structure and the permanent 
lean-to of the Makusi and Patamona, one of which I came across 
(fig. 70) measuring some 16 or 17 feet in height. It was capable of 
easily accommodating half a dozen people, and had been thatched 
with ite leaf. The fixation of all the different parts had been effected 
with vine rope. 

299. On the Cuyuni the Carib and Arawak huts were alike (ScG, 
226) . The houses of the Carib, says Hilhouse (on the upper Essequibo 
and Cuyuni), are constructed of two rows of elastic rods, about 20 
feet long, stuck firmly into the ground and bent over at the top in the 
shape of a pointed arch. The base is about 20 feet and the whole is cov- 
ered with the leaves of the palm laid horizontally from bottom to top 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

(HiC, 237) . Schomburgk met with Carib arched houses at Annai vil- 
lage, on the Kiipiinmii (pi. 58 B). So also Melville, for 30 years resi- 
dent on the upper Kiipununi, tells me that he has often seen the vaulted 
houses, as descril>ed by Hilhouse.built by both Makusi and Wapishana 
Indians alike. They were invariably covered with durubanna 
leaves, very like, if not identical with, the dallibanna of the coast, and 
were similarly strung on long, light laths (sec. 321). None of the 
other palm leaves would be suitable for this kind of house, as their 
weight would be too much for the frame. Once on the laths they 
were attached to the frame from below up in horizontal rows, to form 
a neat waterproof and exceedingly light combined wall and roof. 

Vk. 70.- 

-Frame of permanent house, lean-to type, 
saplings ia. b). 

It bas been built up against two 

These houses would also be always built in the forest, as such light 
leaves would be blown up by the strong winds over the open country. 
On an island in the Essequibo opposite Maccari Mountain there were 
once five houses, all of this kind ; the largest of them was quite 30 feet 
wide and 30 feet high at the apex, and certainly 40 feet long (MEL). 
In our own colony they are still to be seen among the Taruma (JO), 
but otherwise they are very scarce. I noted a Carib one recently on 
the upper Barima (fig. 71), thatched with manicol and dallibanna, 
and the sides closed with pump-wood bark. As these structures are 
fairly common in Surinam (pi. 58 B) and Cayenne (pi. 54) they nmst 
have been of wide distribution. 

300. The circular house, the bell tent, beeliive, or hayrick, as it is 
sometimes called, is of extremely wide distribution, and, as I pro- 
pose showing, certain types of it may have intimate structural re- 
lations with some of the rectangular houses. Not only is it seen reg- 
idarly among Wapishana. Makusi (pi. 59 A, B), Arekuna, and 



Patamona, but occasionallj' among Arawak, Akawai, and Roucou- 
yenne. At an Arawak village on the Corentyn River St. Clair ob- 
served that the chief's hut was unlike that of the others, it being 
of the shape of a beehive, and beautifully thatched down to the 
ground with the leaves of the manicol palm. Its entrance was by 
a small, low door (StC, i, 304). There is Hilhouse's and other au- 
thority for the statement that the Akawai built both square and cir- 
cular houses (HiC, 237) : these are called weemuh (BCL, 145). Up 
to within five years ago there was an Akawai circular house on the 
little Winiperu, a branch of the Demerara River. The Roucouyenne, 
beyond the Tumuc-Humac Mountains, have two houses — one for day. 
the other for night use. The latter, distant from the settlement, is 
made in the shape of a hayrick and closed with a woven palm-leaf 
door for protection from mosquitoes, and smoked fires are kept in it 
(Cr. 100). Unfortunately, I have had no opportunity of examining 

Fig. 71. — Frame of permanent house, arched type. Carib, Upper Barima River, a. Main 
post; 6, side framing posts; c, runner; c', wall plate: f, rafter; k, tiebeani ; »/i, ridge- 

on the spot, or on a good plan, the order of structure of the Oyana 
(Roucouyenne) circular hut (GOE, pi. ix, fig. 1), which certainly 
differs from the typical Makusi one. 

301. The typical circular house met with in the country of the 
Wapishana, Makusi, Patamona, Arekuna (Taurepang), etc., is built 
as follows: The main (central) post («) is first inserted (pi. 56 A), 
and a long wooden pole is used to measure from it the exact spots 
where the side framing-posts (hb) are to be placed. These are fixed 
at equal distances from the center post and from one another. The 
circular wall plate (c) of wattle, vine ro23e, etc., is now made on the 
ground, and, raised to the tops of the side framing posts, notched on 
their outsides to receive it, is tied there with vine rope (B). This is 
next supported by an extra and thinner intermediate post (dd). sit- 
uated halfway between each framing post, except in front (and back) , 



[ETH. ANX. 38 

where two are attached to form the framework of the door or doors. 
The main post is next climbed by tying rungs across it, one above the 
other, and the " crosstree " lashed on at the top (C). The crosstree 
consists of two equally long pairs of sticks (e), tied at right angles, 
one pair being in the same vertical plane as the two intermediate 
framing (door) posts. That portion of the main post above the 
crosstree will, on completion of the thatching, remain exposed. Four 
pairs of rafters (/) are next placed in position (D) with their 
thicker ends tied to the wall plate helow, two of the pairs in close 
proximity to the intermediate framing (door) posts, the other two 

upon the circumference of 
the wall plate upon either 
side of the central fram- 
ing posts. The result of 
this arrangement is that 
the thinner tapering ex- 
tremities of the rafters 
can be conveniently tied to 
the outsides of each corre- 
sponding jaair of cross- 
sticks, their fixation being 
further strengthened with 
a purlin (g). A second 
purlin (A), likewise made 
on the ground, is hauled 
up and attached (E) to 
the rafters about halfway 
between crossti'ee and 
wall plate. The remain- 
ing rafters are next put in 
I^lace; and finally (F) the 
tiebeanis {k) and collar 
ties (fig. 72 ?,Z). The walls 
and door are put in subsequently. The largest house of this descrip- 
tion that I saw was at the Makusi village of Maripai, the ground 
measurement of which was 50 feet, the height between 65 and 70 feet. 
This unusual size had been obtained by lengthening the side framing 
posts, thus raising the level of the wall plate to about 15 or 16 feet 
from the ground. Instead of an intermediate purlin about halfway 
between the crosstree and the wall plate, there may be two intermedi- 
ate ones. The collar ties that go to strengthen the purlin may be com- 
posed either of two pairs of sticks placed at right angles (fig. 72 I, i), 
i. e., of similar construction to the crosstree, or of three sticks attached 
at right angles to a fourth. Curiously enough, in all the tribes above 

Fig. 72. — Circular house ; construction of frame- 
work, showing the collar ties {1,1) of the inter- 
mediate purlin (li). 










A, Situntinn of main central (o), and six side.framing posts (*). 

J5, The wall-plate (<r) is fixed in position, and supported with intermediate fvam- 

inef posts ((/) . 
C, The cross.tree formed of four sticks (f), to which the first four pairs ot rafters (/) 

are attached, strengthened by a purlin (^). 

E, Shows the intermediate purlin (A). 

F, The tie beams (,(•)■ ^"^ remaining rafters arc put in place. 



mentioned, the collar tie is si^oken of by a term indicating "monkey- 
bench."' It is the perch proper for this domestic pet. The rafters, 
with their thicker ends downward, project anywhere from 4 to 6 
feet beyond the wall plate to a height sometimes as low as 3 feet 
from the ground, the side walls never being on the same vertical 
plane as the wall plate, but beyond it. Indeed, these latter are built 
on a framework of light sticks (side-wall posts), stuck into the 
ground and tied above to the rafters outside of their attachment to 
the wall plate. The center of the central tie beam is bound very 
firmlj' to the main central post. In the round houses of the Trio of 
Surinam the central post very frequently projects a bit beyond the 
roof, and upon this projecting jjortion is placed an earthen pot 
((tO, 3). These pots are also to be seen on Taruma, Waiwai, and 
I'arakuta houses, and either rest upon or are pierced by the pole down 
which they are believed to prevent the rain trickling (JO). On the 
Maojjitj-an circular houses there was a double bell-top roof; to the 
upper and smaller one were attached certain wooden figures that 
swayed with the wind (SR, ii, 471). Certain split timbers, wattles, 
etc., are generally laid across adjoining tiebeams to form a staging 
on which to store provisions, weapons, etc., and not infrequently, as 
in Makusi houses, may give rise to a complete flooring on which the 
occujjants reside, while visitors, etc., are accommodated on the ground 
floor. It can hardly, however, be described as a two-story house, or 
as a pile dwelling (sec. 314). 

303. The walls of these circular houses, like those of elliptical 
houses, are occasionally left uninclosed (pi. 59 A). Otherwise they 
may be built of leaves, pump wood, bark (pi. 59 B; fig. 73 B), or 
mud; and from the fact that all such variations may be met with in 
the same tribe and district (e. g., Makusi on Rupununi River), it 
seems probable that the differences in material are dependent on local 
or climatic conditions. 

Having fixed certain slender outer and side wall posts into posi- 
tion by tying them to the rafter ends above and jamming them into 
the groimd below, the interspaces are filled with kokerit, lu (a palm 
very like turn), or manicol leaves. The first mentioned is folded in 
its length, and attached horizontally, the midrib acting as a runner 
which is tied onto the posts (Makusi, Wapishana). The lu is em- 
ployed (Makusi) in similar fashion, save that the leaf is split and put 
on in pairs like the turn for thatch (sec. 324). The manicol, after 
splitting, is woven into long frames, which are set up verticallj^, one 
overlapping the other. Or, again, the outer side wall posts may be 
joined up with runners, upon which wild agave leaves (fig. 73 A) are 
made to rest by their own weight (Makusi), or else bark sheets (B) 
of the iJump wood (baramulli) may be tied onto them (Makusi). 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

These bark sheets are as much as 5 feet in height. Finally, as is very 
commonly the case in the cold open savannas and on the mountains 
(Makusi, Patamona, Taurepang, etc.), the interspaces between the 
wall posts can be inclosed with a double latticework of vertical and 
horizontal rods, so as to form squares from 5 to 6 inches across (pis. 
GO A, B; 76). These squares are then filled in with mud. but no ad- 
mixture of grass, which subsequently hardens. In Schomburgk's 
time the Wapishana houses, unlike those of the Makusi, had no walls 
(ScO, 84) ; but this statement does not hold good for the present day. 

303. In the smaller houses there 
is usually but one door, a very low 
and narrow one ; in the larger thei'e 
are often two, placed opposite each 
other, the front one in such cases 
being reserved for the men. In the 
latter circumstances the two halves 
of the interior are roughly divided 
for the use of the sexes, but, as in 
other houses, the building may be 
occuijied by several families, each 
having its own hearth. The door 
is made either of plaited leaf 
(manicol, kokerit) ,of ite-leaf stalks 
fixed vertically bj' rods piercing 

^^__^__^^^^ them above and below, of bark 

Si^tiiiiw' ■* jpj ' I'lii""'"* iiiiwii* ' w= sheets, or of deerskin. It is re- 

Ij'ii III' I moved bodily to one side during the 

LJ-JJJIJ=^JjL daytime. 

304. Certain structural varia- 
tions in these circular houses are 
observable among the Arekuna 
(Taurepang). There may be (pi. 
57, fig. IB) two forked main posts 

(a, a) supporting a miniature ridgepole (/?;) situated in the shorter 
axis of the building, which has become slightly elliptical. The first 
structure of this nature that I saw was the house of Jesus, a Taure- 
pang, about 10 miles southwest of Mount Roraima, and called from 
me the remark that the method of construction was a freak on the 
part of the occupant. The latter and mj' own Indians informed me, 
however, that the shape was not uncommon — that of the sawari seed 
(Pekea tuberculosa) , the name that is api^lied to this type of building. 
The shorter and longer dimensions of the particular house in question 
were 34 and 38 feet, respectively. 


Fig. 73. — Walls of circular and elliptical 
houses. A, Wild agave leares ; B, 



i^tVj. u A, Normiil. i>\ Two forked main posts (a, a) in shorter axis of building- 
which h:vs become slightly ellipticiU. C, Three forked main posts in longer 
axis of building which has become slightly elliptical. 

PiGv 2. Viewed from below. The main pOsts are dispensed with altogether, as 
also are two of the main framing posts. 






305. Another variation (pi. 5T, fig. 1 C) is the presence of three 
main posts (a a a) fixed close together in the same plane, supporting at 
their forked extremities a ridgepole (m), with a corresponding alter- 
ation in the shape of the building from a circle to a slight ellipse, 
the wall plate and purlin becoming proportionately modified. The 
longer pair of sticks composing the crosstree incloses the three main 
posts and lies in the 

longer axis of the riee^:afc^:{t^:(t^\^fe^\^''^ 

structure. The mid- 
dle main post is 
finally supported by 
attachment to the 
center of the middle 
tiebeam. Certaiii of 
the rafters, in addi- 
tion to being tied to 
the crosstree and cor- 
responding purlin, 
rest on or are othei'- 
wise kept in position 
on the ridgepole. 
This tjqje of building 
bears interesting 
comparison with the 
long elliptical struc- 
tures of the Makusi, 

306. The most in- 
teresting variation of 
all, however (pi. 57, 
fig. 2), was seen in a 
very small Taure- 
pang house (about 15 
feet in diameter) on 
the " short cut "' be- 
tween Mount Rorai- 
ma and Kuatin Creek, 
not very far from the latter. Here there were but two pairs of side 
framing posts and no center post, crosstree, or purlin. The place of 
the crosstree, etc., was taken by a miniature ridgepole (m) , both ridge- 
pole and rafters being supported by two wooden rods or braces (n) 
tied crosswise beneath them. The use of braces is not unknown in 
other varieties of comparatively modem Indian houses (sec. 310) . Tlie 
occupants of the building — the only one of its kind that I saw — being 
away at the time of my visit, I was, unfortunately, prevented gleaning 

Fig. 7-1. — PermaDent house, eUiptical type, with two posts. 
Construction of frameworls. Reference letters as in pre- 
ceding; figures : ss are the collar ties. 



[ETH. ANN. 33 

any particulars as to the raison d'etre of a type of construction so rad- 
ically different from anything to be met with elsewhere in the district. 

307. The strictly elliptical house of the Wapishana, Makusi, Pata- 
mona, and Arekuna (pi. GO A, B) is but a development of the cir- 
cular one met with among these same people, notably of the second 
variation of it seen in the Arekuna country (pi. 57, fig. IC). The 
ridgepole is increased in length and the three main posts, together 
with tiebeams, etc.. become separated, wliile the purlin, halfway be- 
twen ridgepole and wall plate, is strengthened with three ties or stays 
in place of crosstrees. one for each post. In the smaller of these ellipti- 
cal houses, the central post, together with its tiebeam, disappears (fig. 
74). It is to be noted, further, in this type of habitation, that while 
the rafters at the two rounded gable ends have their thicker ends 
down, those resting along either side of the ridgepole have theirs up. 
In many of these elliptical buildings one or both gables may be 
straight (vertical) instead of rounded. This is usually but a tem- 
porary expedient adopted to save time and labor during the course of 
construction, e. g., the advent of the wet season being earlier than ex- 
l^ected, but occasionalh' the building maj- be left in such a condition 
permanenth', although among the particular tribes mentioned above 
it is not considered orthodox. Usually there is a door at either end 
for the use of the two sexes respectively. 

308. Indians have names for all the different main jiarts of the 
house, but do not appear to possess any for "roof" and "wall" as 
distinct from the house itself. 

Names of the Parts of 

A House 




Arekuna (Taure- 







Main post. 









Wall plate. 









yaradurr dikil- 

Collar tie. 





Side-wall post and 
Side-framing post. 




ikidep (=but- 







sapi, monata. 




Round house. 





Elliptical house. 







.1 , Carib village of jVnnai, Rupununi River, showing the arched or vaulted tj-pe of house. Fruiu ritlioiulvurgk's "Twelve 
Views in the Interior of Guiana," London, 1S41. The \111age still exists, but it is now Makusi, and this particular kind 
of habitation has disappeared. 

/.', .-Vrehcd honso. (After Jocst.l 



I' ■■■':.' ^ i- li^^' 




.1 , Circular house without side walls, Makusi, Rupunuiii River. 

B, L'iri.'uiai lllJU^e^^ wiUi Mde walls, at Iiiotii^'koug, a Makusi \ilia^e at tin' hack ul Tuka, iiuiHUimii Ixucr. 






j^^^K-Sa^^^-- '- ■ 



A , U, Front and back views of a Tuynka (Betoya) maloka on the Tiquic, upper Uaupes River district. (After 
Koch-Griinbcrg.) C, Framework of a Siusi (Arawak) maloka on the Aiary, upper Uaupes River district. 
(After ICoch-Griinbcrg.) 


309. But orthodox or not. the shape referred to in section 307 
is one that was constant in the Uaupes River district in Wallace's 
day. All the tribes on the Uaupes construct their dwellings after 
one plan which is peculiar to them. Their houses (maloka) are 
the abode of numerous families, sometimes of a whole tribe. The 
plan is a paraIlelo<Ti-am with a semicircle at one end — the back (pi. 
61 A, B). The dimensions of one at Juarite were 115 feet in length 
by 75 feet broad and about 30 feet high. This house would hold 
about a dozen families, comprising nearly 100 individuals. In times 
of feasts and dances 300 or 400 are accommodated in them. On the 
sides are little partitions of palm leaf thatch dividing off rooms for 
the separate families. Eoof and sides of thatch. . . At the gable 
end is a large doorway, 6 feet wide and 8 or 10 feet high. The door 
is a large palm mat, hung from the top, supported by a pole during 
the day, and which is let down at night. . . At the semicircular 
end is a smaller door, whicli is the private entrance of the tushaiia, 
or chief, to whom this part of the house exclusively belongs 
(ARW, 341). 

310. In the course of half a century, however, the ground plan 
would seem to have been gradually altered, the rounded end being 
replaced by one similar to that in front, so that the ground plan has 
become I'ectangiilar (pi. 61 C). The construction of such a "common 
house," or maloka, is the same, whether it be large or small. Three 
frames, each formed of two posts joined at their upper ends by a 
crosspiece (tiebeam), help to support the gradually sloping roof, 
while from the middle of each tiebeam there j)roceeds a vertical one, 
with a forked extremity that supports the ridgepole, which, in addi- 
tion, is propped up with a few, usually four, horizontal braces. 
(Braces have already been refeiTed to in other Indian houses (sec. 
306).) These frames are situated at right angles to the length of 
the building, so as to form a free alleyway beneath them, while on 
their outer sides run two rows of five or six smaller posts fixed close 
to the very low side walls. Horizontal beams (runners) running the 
length of the roof join the elbows of the three frames and the tops 
of the four rows of smaller posts. It is to these runners that the 
rafters are attached. The roof projects well over the front as a sure 
protection from the rain (KG, i, 71). It will be observed that in ad- 
dition to its proper function as a point of attachment for the rafters 
the runner also acts as a wall plate. 

311. A similar method of construction with frames (i. e., two side 
posts connected with a tiebeam) is to be seen in the rectangidar 
houses of the Arawak (fig. 75), Warrau, and coastal Carib of Dem- 
erara. On account, however, of the differentiation here of run- 
ner from wall plate, now distinct and separate, the tiebeam, which 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

supports the runner, is connected with the side framing posts only 
indirectly through the wall plates. In the ordinary size houses 
(pi. 62 A. B) there would be two main posts, one at either end of 

FIG. 75.- 

-Permanent liouae. Kectangular two post. Constnictioa of frame, 
letters the same as in figure 71. 


the building, supporting the ridgepole with their forked extremities, 
but in the larger ones, those with a length markedly greater than 
their width, there may be a third one halfway between the other two. 

The rafters project to such a 
length beyond the wall plate 
that when thatched they al- 
most touch the ground. The 
ends of these buildings are 
left open like the sides. To 
cover them in at all with truli 
or other leaves, etc., as I have 
sometimes noticed, is said to 
be all " modern fashion." 

312. The rectangular huts 
(karbets) of the Galibi 
(Carib) in Cayenne would 
appear to have been built on 
a primitive plan peculiarly 
their own. They were known 
(A) and as koubouya or low houses 
(fig. 76 A) built on the 
ground to distinguish them from the sura (sec. 316) or high 
houses (pi. 63 A), the one-story buildings. They were constructed 
of two posts, carrying a big (ridge) pole (fig. 76 A), that sup- 
ported the entire structure. Against this pole were laid saplings 

Ftg. 76.- 

-Fraraework of the koubouya 
taboiil (B) house. Cayenne. 




on both sides, the whole being covered with ahouai leaves. People 
entered by a small opening in one of the sides (PBA, 141-142), 
which makes one incline to the belief that the ends were closed. The 
size of the dwelling was dependent upon the number of people oc- 
cupying it. There were some that held from 20 to 30 households. 
Increased height and width of building is obtained by raising the 
lower ends of the rafters on forked sticks, as in their large meeting 
house or taboiii (pi. 63 A; fig. 76 B), the common meeting place of 
members of the same nation, where they receive strangers, bury 
their dead, and hold their solemn festivals, or rather debauches. It is 
a kind of small hall, 50 or 60 feet long and 10 or 15 feet wide. Huge 
forked posts are fixed at the center and at the ends, which support 
the big pieces of timber for ridging. Eafters are then put in posi- 
tion on either side, these being supported below on smaller forked 
posts, about 4 or 5 feet high, spaced along the whole length of the 
structure; the wall plates or runners are tied to the inner sides of 
these posts, the roof being of the same materials as that of the other 
houses. The two ends, which serve as entrances, are always open 
(PBA, 145-146). 

313. The following table supplies the Warrau, Arawak, and Carib 
terms for the different parts of a rectangular liouse : 







ti shi-do. 


Main post. 



j^turu, deturu. 





Wall plate. 





are maka. 



Wall post. 




Rods (thatch). 




314. The way in which certain habitations have been grouped 
together as pile dwellings is extremely unsatisfactory, but in the 
absence of accurate and detailed descriptions of the methods of con- 
struction, better can not be done. As the group now stands, houses 
on piles or posts are neither peculiar to one particular tribe nor 
to the swampy coastland. but may be observed among many tribes 
far inland, in country both high and dry. At the same time ordi- 
nary (circular, oval, or rectangular) houses with a flooring con- 
structed on the tiebeams joining the side framing posts and the 
consequent disuse of the ground surface by the occupants must not 


be regarded as houses biiilt on piles or posts — an error into -nrhich 
it would appear that more than one traveler has fallen. 

315. In connection with the alleged old-time pile dwellings of the 
Warrau. over water, in the coastal swamp lands. Hilhouse says: 
"The mauritia (ite) grows in chisters as thick as trees can grow. 
The Warrau selects one of these groves and fells the trees about 4 
feet from the surface, and on their stumps he lays a floor of their split 
trunks. The trulis (manicarial are generally adjacent for the roof, 
but if not the ite leaf serves. Lumps of clay are laid on the floor, on 
which fires are made . . .: but the habitation is an irregular hut, 
raised on a platform Just above the level of the water, which in these 
regions is 3 feet above the earth for three-fourths of the year. Some 
of them can contain 150 people " (HiB. 327). 

Schomburgk makes mention of a Warrau settlement on the Barima 
with miserable huts 7 or 8 feet long (SR. i, 195). On the Orinoco. 
GumUla speaks of the Warrau who raise their houses, streets, and 
market place (plaza) upon stakes and poles sunk through the mud 
until their ends reach firm ground. To these stakes, which are 
necessarily of such a length that neither the tides nor swell of the 
Orinoco cover them, are fixed and fastened the requisite timbers. 
On the transoms and woodwork stretching fi'om one pole to an- 
other is laid the flooring, formed of the hard trunk or outsides of the 
murichi palm (mauritia). the name which they give it in their 
language . . . They thatch the houses with the leaves of the same 
palm (G, I, 145). According to an illustration given by Crevaux, 
the floor would appear to consist of two layers of tree trunks, at right 
angles to one another, the components of the lower one spaced : those 
of the upper touching (Cr, 607). 

316. Coming now to houses on posts in lands high and dry, there is 
Barrere"s incomplete description left to us of the Sura (sec. 312) of 
the old-time Cayenne Galibi. This is nothing but a number of posts, 
fixed in the ground, about 8 or 10 feet high, on the top of which is 
constructed a flooring of timbei-s split from the trunk of the ouassie 
(manicol) palm, and tied crosswise to form a firm flooring. The roof 
is of the same leaves as the koubouya (sec. 312), i. e.. truli. but. un- 
fortimately. no account is given of the structure of the wall plate, etc.. 
or the manner in which the roof, ridgepole, and rafters are supported. 
To get inside one has to climb saplings, inclined at not very much of a 
slope, on which are the notches to which the rungs are affixed, but so 
insecurely that they lean now to this side, now to that (PBA. 142-143) . 
Mv own opinion of these Sura houses of Cayenne — and we meet with 
similar ones in Surinam (GOE. pi. xii, 2) — is that they are identical 
with the rectangular buildings of the Arawak, Warrau, and coastal 
Carib described in section 311, save that flooring has been laid across 


I, \\;iiruii lioii^i.' on iialjo Lirlwccii Morm-a and Ponirrooii Jlivcrs. {I'holograph by Sir C. 


B, Small rectant;ular house. (Photograph by H. I. Perkins.) 


L •ij-c /u/r//'L 

A, Old-time houses in Cayenne. [Note. -In the Sura habitation the artist has evidently forgotten the 
two main posts supporting the ridging: otherwise it would be similar to the present day house of the 
Carib stock Indians of Cayenne and Surinam. (Compare GOE, pi. xii, fig. 2.)] 



D, .\i 

:uiil:, uI III'' I'ai'k (j! Tuka. Ullpuiiiiin 

'ilia "f 'iMi'lHii;,. at III'.' Maku-l \illa_''' n\ I 


E 64 

Fig. l.-Thc Ir.ili loaf a. i hatch A , Making a righl-liaud truli. B. Roof Ihatch 
inner surface: one midrib looped up at a time. C. Parlition, waU, inner sur- 
face: two raidrilK caught iu each loop. 


I'l'rS. 2 and X.— II). use ornament.'^, ele. 


A, Vaulted drying scalTold for kokcrit leaves. Below Rappu Falls, Esse(iuiho River. 
(Photograiih by H. P. C. Melville.) 

U, -'Vii e.\am|iii' nl .iecor^l.'il Iiciiim'. l_;au|"■^ Hivir ili^lrirt. I.VfIrr iMK-li-CriiiihiTf;. ) 




the runners. In our own colony at Karinaniba village (Makusi) near 
Pirara, Kupununi Kiver. Barrington Brown speaks of two of the 
houses with mud walls being built on long posts 10 feet high, with 
floors made of split palm stems (BB, 133) ; but these would be evi- 
dently similar to what I have observed in certain Makusi houses 
(sec. 301) of the close neighborhood, and, for reasons already stated, 
can not in any sense be regarded as 2)ile or two-story dwellings. 

317. At Inongkong, another Makusi village, at the back of the 
Toka ranges, Rupununi River, I came across what I then thought 
was a most remarkable building (pi. 63 B), on a rectangular ground 
plan, where the ridgepole, supported on two forked main posts, was 
laid across the shorter axis of the building. The eaves of the roof 
projecting in front were supjDorted with jooles, and across these sup- 
ports were tied split kokerit leaves. But since that time I have seen 
a few other buildings similarly constructed. There is one at War- 
ramuri Mission, on the Monica River, which I have been told is the 
lazy man's way of building, where tlie wall plate has been dis- 
pensed with, the runner 
taking its place. No doubt 
in such cross-roof houses 
as these, comparatively 
shorter runners and ridge- 
pole are utilized. 

318. Several plants are 
used for purposes of 
thatch. Their leaves are 
attached in various ways to the rods, which are fixed to the rafters 
by at least three different methods (fig. 77). In the more modern 
houses a ridging may be made of four coconut, manicol, etc., leaves 
plaited together after the style of a rain shelter (sec. 296). 

319. Manicana saccifera Gaertn. : The truli palm of the Creoles 
and Arawak, employed in the Arawak, Warrau, and Carib houses 
of the coast lands. Provided they have been well sundried previ- 
ously to being stored away upon the cross beams of a house, the 
leaves can be kept, according to the weather, for from 9 to 10 months 
or more ; but in wet weather they will rot quickly, the ribs becoming 
soft. This is why in wet weather, if the roof is urgently required, 
the truli leaves are put on green, but it is not good practice because 
they shrink more or less and the ties become loose. It is one of the 
best thatching materials available for the Indians and will last for 
from 10 to 14 years, especially when continually subjected to the 
action of smoke. The leaf is folded along its midrib before being 
tied to the runner with a sharply pointed long itiriti strip. Holding 
it more or less horizontally with its front toward you (pi. 64, fig. 1 A) , 
bend half the leaf down over the back of its midrib, working from 

60160°— 24 18 


-Different methods of tying tlie rods (a) to 
the rafters (6) prior to thatching. 



base to apex, with the right hand squeezing it bit by bit from left 
to right, in proportion as the left hand drags the midrib from right 
to left. This will produce what is called a right-hand truli. A left- 
hand truli is made in similar fashion, but left and right are reversed, 
the left hand squeezing the midrib from right to left as fast as the 
right hand can drag it from left to right. Strictly speaking, the 
proiaer employment of a right or left-hand truli is dependent upon 
the direction of the prevailing wind, with the idea of preventing 
the latter from lifting up and tearing the overlapjjing edges of 

the leaves. In fixing truli 
^^^^^^3ri loj. thatch (B) the dou- 
bled leaves ai'e put on in 
pairs, one midrib (that of 
the under leaf) in ad- 
vance of the other. In 
the actual tying, the 
itiriti strand binds the 
outer midrib to the run- 
ner, although it, of course, 
pierces in transit the 
folded halves of the un- 
der leaf; according as 
tlie leaves ai'e put on from 
right or left, so will the 
tying proceed, but in 
either case there will re- 
sult an exposure of leaf 
edges on the Quter sur- 
face. Now, in building a 
truli side or partition 
wall, this exposure on the 
one surface is obviated by 
each pair of leaves in- 
closing the midribs of an- 

/? // n n !l U 


/ <mMm^ '' 

'Iki.liimj m, mik> 

Fig. 78. — Ite palm-lea( tUatcU. 

other pair so that each loop of the tying strand fixes four leaves to 
the runner (C). The proper way with each of these pairs is to see 
that one constituent is a right-hand leaf and the other a left-hand 
one, so that the fronts of the midribs are exposed on both wall sur- 
faces. According to the length of leaf employed — and they may be 
from 4 op 5 to 8 feet or more — there will be from two to four 

320. Mauritia flexuosa Linn. — The ite palm : Its leaves would seem 
to have been commonly used b}' the Warrau both on the Orinoco 
(G, I, 145) and elsewhere (HiB. 327; HiC. 239), though these peo- 
ple certainly employed truli also. Ite leaves are likewise to be seen 




on Makusi, Wapishana, Patamona, and Arekuna houses. Their use 
is of very wide distribution. The young leaves, just before they ex- 
pand from the early spikelilve fomi in which they develop, are shaken 
until the leaflets fall apart. These leaflets are then cut off from the 
leafstalks, gathered into small bundles, and laid on as thickly as 
possible, much as straw is used for thatching in the homeland. I 
have seen the Taurepang (Arekuna) make use of them in this man- 
ner (fig. 78 A). The Makusi, Wapishana, and Patamona will em- 
ploy the leaf entire, but the method of fixing will depend upon 
whether the front or back of the leaf is to be exposed, because it can 


Fig. 79. — Dallibanna palm-Iea£ thatch. A, Used b.y itsi^lf; B, interspaced with split 

manicol, tiiru, etc, \a). 

be used both ways. If the front, is to be outside, the leaf is split 
down on either side of the midrib, which, after more or less trimming, 
is just hung over the lath, its own weight and pressure rendering it 
independent of any tying string (C). If the back is to be exposed, 
the leaf is pierced in two places, an itiriti string passed through 
and so tied, one after the other (B). An ite-leaf roof does not last 
long, it being invariably eaten up by insects. 

321. Geonoma haculifera, the " dallibanna " palm, are strung on 
long, straight laths cut from the stem either of the buba or paschiiiba 
(iriartea) palm or the manicol. Two such runners are laid on the 
ground, and the leaves, in groups of two or three, bent over the 
upper one and tied with vine rope, itiriti, etc., onto the lower. They 
are bent over the top lath either by their stalks or their own bases.' 



[ETH. ANN. 3R 

When both lengths of runner are completed they are attached at 
their extremities to the rafters and so put on, one pair over the 
other, after the manner of huge wide tiles (fig. 79 A). Dallibanna 
leaves have to be placed in position within a day or so after cutting 
them, because on drying they crack, and therefore could not be 
looped over the runner. When scarce they can be used in alternate 
rows with split manicol or turu leaves. Tlie latter are split down 
the midrib and the two halves placed together at opposite ends, so 
that tlie pinnules cross in a sort of latticework, the two half midribs 
together acting as the runner (fig. 79 B). Dallibanna is to be seen 
on Taruma, Arawak, Carib, Akawai, and Makusi houses. 

322. Mad'imiliana regia Mart., the kokerit palm, can be used in 
two wavs: The whole leaf is cut into lengths of about 2 feet each 




F\G. 80. — Kokerit palm-leaf thatch. 

and tied onto the rimners from right to left, or vice versa, the lengths 
being made to slope alternately to the right and left (fig. 80 A. B). 
It may be used throughout the whole roof thatch or only around the 
circular portions at the front and back of the Makusi and Wapishana 
houses. The other way is to split the leaf down from the distal 
extremity of the midrib, then thin down its two halves with a knife, 
and finally tie them together at opposite ends so that they may be 
used as a rod or runner (C). In this manner the leaves may be 
used either by themselves or mixed with alternate layers of dalli- 
.banna, as is seen in many Carib houses on the Barima, etc. Wlien 


used in lengths, however, the leaves may undergo preparatory treat- 
ment on a special vaulted scaffolding (pi. 65 A), to which they are 
fixed in horizontal rows to dry. 

323. Euterpe edtilk Mart., nuinicol palm; used by splitting the 
leaf longitudinally and tying the two halves with opposite ends 
together so as to act as a runner. The pinnules form a sort of lat- 
ticework, as with the turu leaf (fig. 79 B, a). The whole roof, espe- 
cialh' in the smaller square houses of the Arawak, maj* thus be built 
of (doubled) row upon row of manicol. Carib houses may be built 
with alternate rows of manicol and dallibanna (sec. 321), or even 
itiriti leaves. The latter are fixed in position by bending the petiole 
over the lath and piercing it through the blade. There is. 
however, another way in which the manicol leaves may be em- 
ployed : after being split as before, but corresponding ends placed in 
apposition, they are plaited along one side of the midrib, a pinnule 
("stock" of the local residents) being taken from each half leaf, 
and the two then bent over and allowed to hang down behind. 
Sometimes two stocks are taken from one leaf and one from another, 
this all depending upon the interspacing of the stocks, i. e.. how far 
apart they are. Wlien a number of pairs have been plaited they 
are tied vertically onto the laths like truli leaves (sec. 319). 
This kind of thatch will last four or five years. On the upper 
Demerara Eiver, with Arawak and Akawai. I have also seen it now 
and again on the side walls of certain Makusi and other houses. 
Manicol leaf, otlier things being equal, is better than kokerit, owing 
to the pinnules being closer. 

334. CEnocarpus hacaha Mart., turu palm: Usually a horizontal 
row of manicol palm is alternated with a row of turu. The reason for 
this is that by itself manicol would not last any great length of time, 
whereas by itself turu is too thin, or, rather, the pinnules are too 
narrow, and so would admit of the rain dripping through. More 
than this, both manicol and turu require that they be thatched within 
24 hours and only during that portion of the month when the moon 
rises in the early morning, between 2 and 4 a. m., because when the 
moon rises in the early evening the crickets would be present and 
eat the leaves within five or six days. On the other hand, these in- 
sects will not attack them after they hav^ dried for a couple of weeks 
after being fixed in position. As already mentioned, turu can also be 
employed alternately with dallibanna (sec. 321). In Arawak and cer- 
tain Makusi houses, where no other materials are easily procurable, 
small, broad leaves of a common aroid {Anthurhirn acaule) are used, 
strung together, many on a stick (IT, 209) . I have observed the same 
leaf, apparently, on two occasions in the Makusi country. At an In- 
dian settlement near Savonette, Berbice, Pinckard has stated that 


the roofs were neatly thatched with leaves of the coconut or tlie 
mountain cabbage (Pnk, i, 505). The lu palm, another species of 
Oenocarpus, can be split and used like the kokerit. Paripi palm 
leaves are to be seen on Akawai houses (App. ii, 113). 

On the upper Demerara there is a kind of cutting grass utilized 
for thatch. It is about 4 feet long, known to the Arawak as we, 
and just placed in position by bending over the lath, like agave 
leaves, on side walls (sec. 302). Among remaining thatch plants 
there is the Martinezia caryotaefolia and Acrocomia sclerocarpa 
(SK, 11, 236). 

325. Like the paintings on the rocks, those in the houses on the 
main posts (SE, ii, 471). and on the walls, all require further study 
and elucidation, somewhat on the lines that have been followed with 
those met with in the upper Eio Negro region (KG, ii, 240-243). 
Here the Indians show a high esthetic sense in the manner in which 
they decorate the walls, inside and outside (pi. 65 B). as well as the 
main posts, with variously colored designs and carvings. So also 
Crevaux speaks of seeing allegorical pictures painted on wood in 
white, yellow, and red clays moistened with water at the Eoucou- 
yenne village of Macouipy, on the upper Yary, Cayenne, and gives 
an illustration (C'r. 108). He also makes mention of such pictures 
on wood in an Apalai village on the Parou Eiver (Cr, 302). Among 
the Makusi of the Eupununi Schomburgk states that the figures seen 
on the women's apron belts were identical with what he saw exe- 
cuted, both with white clay, red or black colors, on the hut walls, 
on the paddles, corials, and weapons, either with the fingers or a 
bit of wood. "It is peculiar," he continues, "that only the women 
do this painting. . . . When a man finishes some instrument or 
weapon he hands it over to the woman, who, without any copy, 
exercises her innate art upon it " (SE, i, 359). 

326. With regard to furniture there is little that is purely decora- 
tive, most of it being utilitarian. Among the Carib in Guadeloupe 
were found a vast number of human bones and skulls hung up about 
the houses, like vessels intended for holding various things (DAC, 
438). The nations of the Orinoco had the custom of suspending 
from the roof various plaited figures (sec. 766). representing the 
number of enemies whom the house master had killed (G. ii, 91). 
On the branches of the upper Eio Negro various human, animal, and 
bird figures (pi. 64, figs. 2, 3), plaited from palm leaves or manufac- 
tured from corncobs, are hung from the rafters, etc., some of the lat- 
ter objects being utilized as targets by the youngsters (KG, ii, 244). 
Indians, as a rule, have a curious habit of hanging up or sticking 
against the rafters of their houses the bones or skulls of various 
small animals which they have killed and eaten CBB, 161) — e. g., 


jawbones of the I'ed howler and couata monkeys, deer skulls, etc., 
supposedly kept as trophies of the chase. But it should be remem- 
bered that the bones of certain animals may be preserved in similar 
situations as charms, etc. (WEE, vi, 298.) 

327. Among the Island Carib there was not only a separation of 
buildings for separate uses, but the division of a building into dis- 
tinct chambers. Thus besides a little detached building, where they 
took their rest and where they received their friends, each family 
of any size had two other sheds. One served as kitchen, the other 
as a storeroom for their bows, arrows, clubs, baskets, reserve ham- 
mocks and all their little ornaments and kickshaws {caconnes), 
which they used on high days and holidays. Their little huts were 
made in an oval form of pieces of wood planted in the ground, over 
which they put a roof of palm leaves, etc. They also used small 
reeds fastened across for the palisades, which served as walls for 
their habitations. Under every covering they had as many partitions 
made as they would have rooms. A simple mat served among them 
the office of our doors, bolts, and locks. There was nothing above 
their heads but the roof itself, and under their feet only the bare 
earth ; but they were so careful in keeping it clean that they swept 
it as often as they saw the least filth upon it. This they observed in 
their private houses; for commonly, their (grand) carbet or public 
house where they met for their festivities was very dirty, with the 
result that it was often full of chigoes (RO, 489-490). Palm 
leaves — e. g., latanier (RO. 81) cane, and certain grasses — are said 
to have been employed for thatch. It is said of the Carib Islanders 
that the men built the houses and canoes, but the roofs were made by 
the women (PER, 242). 

Chapter XVIII 


Benches, stools: General consideration (328); evolution of the symmetrical 

forms (329) ; asymmetrical (330) ; adaptations of natural forms (331). 
Tables (332). 
Babracotes (333). 

Cassava graters: Natural forms (334) ; stone-chip graters (335) : their manu- 
facture by Taruma (336-341) ; other sources (342) ; how used (343). 
Cassava canoe (344). 

Cassava squeezer: Distribution (345) ; manufacture (34(>-354) ; use (355). 
Cassava sifter: Arawak and Warrau (356); Makusi and Wapishana (357); 

Makusi, etc.. farine sifter (358) ; other types (359) ; how used (360). 
Bakiug ovens, griddles: Stone (361) ; clay (362) ; iron (363). 
Fire hearth ( 364 ) . 
Cassava smoother (365). 

Fans (366) ; Arawak (367) ; sawfish and wishbone pattern (368-371) ; sting- 
ray gill pattern (372-3741 ; Carib (375) ; Akawai (376). 
Drinking trough (377). 
Stirring paddle, spoon (378). 
Broom (379). 

Pestle and mortar: Wood (380) ; bark (381) ; stone (382). 
Sugar mill (383). 
Cups, vessels, vats, etc. (384). 
Boxes: Adaptations of natural forms: Bamboo, seed, monkey "throat " (385) ; 

sewed leaf (386) ; plaited (387). 
Bags (388). 

Clay pots, pans, water vessels, etc. (389-391). 
Pot stands, head-pads (392). 
Mats: Close-work basketry mats compared with certain trays (393). 

Classification (394) ; no special edging distinct from the foundation (395) : 
a special edging on two opposite sides only (396) ; a special edging 
around whole circumference (397) ; roll-up mats (398). 
Mat satchels (399, 400) : bark mats (401). 
Trays, classification (402). 

Rectangular. — With straight vertical rim or edging plaited independently 
of any rail or weft (403) ; after being wound over a supporting rod or 
rail (404) ; or including a series of rails (405) ; with concave outward 
sloping rims (406) ; hanging trays (407). 
Circular. — Edging formed of it.s own strands specially twisted and plaited 
(408) ; or of a capped lining (409) ; or of a series of rails (410) ; hanging 
trays (411). 
Baskets, made of specially prepared strands as opposed to adaptations of natu- 
ral forms : 

Hexagon type of base. — With a single weft (412-114) ; with a multiple 
weft (415). 



Baskets, made of specially prepared strands, etc. — Continued. 

Circular or oval type of base. — Radiate (416) ; vertebrate (417) ; dia- 
phragm, hexagon (418) ; diaphragm, loop (419, 420) ; unenclosed, 
twined (421) : unenclo.sed, pentagon (422). 
Cone type of base. — Open-work (423) ; close-work (424). 
Rectangular type of base. — Hipped (425, 426) ; gabled (427) ; flat, hexag- 
onal (42S) ; crossed quadrilateral (429) ; checker (430) ; armadillo 
(wicker) (431, 432): hour-glass (twilled) (433-436); single central 
figure, completed article having the shape of a cylinder (437) ; tub (43S) ; 
belly (439); basin, bowl (440); multiple figures, completed article 
having a box-shape known as pegall, satchel (441-446). 
Freaks (447). 

Classification of baskets (448). 
Cover basketry (449). 

Knapsacks (450) : patterns (451) ; covers (4.52). 
Adaptations of natural forms to mats, trays, baskets, knapsacks, etc. (453-457). 

328. Benches, stools. — The animal-like carved seats and stools de- 
scribed by Acuiia among the Carib. says Schomburgk, we foimd still 
among them; and not only among them, but also among the Ara- 
Tvak (SR. II, 432). The reference to Acuiia is very probably the 
following: "The Caupuna and Zurina tribes on the south side of the 
Amazon, near its junction with the Rio Negro, are the most in- 
genious and curious handicraftsmen that we saw in all the country. 
Without any other tools than such as I have spoken of before, they 
make chairs in the form of beasts, with so much curiosity and so com- 
modious for a man to sit at his ease that I think the invention of 
man can not contrive better " (AC, 142). Indeed, it has been admit- 
ted that they are often so carefully scooped out and shaped to fit the 
body of the sitter that they are as comfortable as any cushioned 
stool could be (IT, 207). On the other hand, they may be cut flat 
(e. g., among the Siusi, etc.). With the Ojana the upper portion of 
the bench is occasionally flat. These they call apika. Others are 
round and they call them kololo (GO, 3). The two ends of the seat 
may be left plain and square (pi. 06 A), as among the Ojana of 
Cayenne (PBA, 188) at one extreme of the Guianas, and among the 
Uaupes River Indians at the other (ARW, 352). Nevertheless, as 
already mentioned, they are often formed into grotesque figures 
(heads) of tortoises, frogs, armadillos, alligators, and other animals 
. . . bright-colored seeds and occasionally pebbles (even a chip of 
looking-glass) are iu.serted to represent the eyes (IT, 297). In Suri- 
nam, Kappler speaks of alligator, beetle, and " tiger " heads being 
represented ( AK, 144, 185) . However, as in figure 81 G, R, S and CC, 
while one end of the seat indicates the particular animal's head, the 
other may either show its tail or the head of some other creature. 
All of these sjTnmetrical benches, whether indicative of animal or 
not, are carved in one piece from a solid block, and have four limbs 
or legs— straight, angular, or curved — which in all the larger 


(higher) specimens remain attached below, a pair on either side with 
the length of the article. In the lower stools the limbs on either side 
may be separated — a difference evidently depending upon stability. 
Some of these s3Tnmetrical benches are over a foot in height, but 
others are met with among the Akawai of the Pomeroon and among 
the Patamona that are not more than 3 inches; but even in these 
cases traces of the four limbs are well defined. Bearing in mind these 
variations in size, it will be readily conceded that there can be little 
basis for the statement that the desirable object of these low seats or 
benches is to raise the hams of the Indian, when sitting, out of the 
reach of chigoes. Whatever the height of the stool it could not 
prevent the feet and toes from being liitten. The benches belonging 
to the medicine men, certainly the Arawak ones of the Pomeroon, 
were specially decorated, and represented either the macaw, the alli- 
gator, or the "tiger," or two of these combined (WER, vi, sec. 288). 
With the Makusi of the Rupununi, Schomburgk noted that the 
wooden stools were used almost entirely by women (SR, i, 359) ; but 
the statement is misleading. During one of the Arawak initiation 
ceremonies the young girl has to keep her seat on an alligator or 
"tiger" bench (WER, vi, sec. 273). These wooden seats are known 
as halla (Arawak), nohe (Warrau), tabai (Wapishana), mo-re 
(Makusi), etc., as inuli or mule to the Surinam (St, i, 388) and 
Cayenne Creoles (PBA, 188). The Island Carib had little seats made 
of one piece, of a red or yellow wood, and as smooth as marble (RO, 
490). Unfortunately, further particulars are wanting. 

329. There are one or two interesting points connected with these 
symmetrical benches — notably, the causes that have given rise to the 
symmetry, to the shape, and to the animal representations. These will 
be better appreciated from the following brief survey of the more 
primitive forms (each one complete in itself) as I have observed 
them in present-day use among Makusi, Patamona, Akawai, Wapi- 
shana, Warrau, and Arawak. The simplest form of such a bench is 
a section of tree log with a flattened undersurface (fig. 81 A) to lend 
stability. Another simple form is the more or less squared log (I. J). 
But to shift a heavy block of either description even a few feet re- 
quires the exertion of a certain amount of strength, to minimize 
which it is hollowed to a varying degree (B, C, K). This is the 
reason furnished me by the Indians themselves. It is much easier to 
excavate and pick out the timber lengthwise with the grain than 
transversely across it. The symmetry of two halves dividing the 
bench in its length, and the primitive shape of two wings attached to 
a top piece more or less definitely defined is thus accounted for. 
Weight without jiroportionate loss of strength can be still further 
reduced by cutting away at the sides, bases, or center of the wings. 







Fig. 81. — Diagram showing evolution of tlie beuch in regard to symmetry, sliape, and 
animal representation. .1, B, Commoni forms : Arawak, C'arib, Warrau. C, D, E, F, 
Aliawai. C is also an Oyaua type. (GOE, pi. vii. flg. 2.) Q, H, Makusl. I, J, 
Common forms : Arawak, Caril). K, Caril). L, Makusi. M, Baniwa. N, 0, P, Pata- 
mona, Makusi. Q, .Arawak. R, Demerara River. S, Taurepang (Arekuna). T, 
Uaupes Indians <ARW, .•!."i2i. U, Makusi. F, Oyana I PB.\. 1,S8). IF, .\rawak. X, 
Makusi. V, (Tarunia and) Uaupes Indians. Z, Uaupes Indians. ^.1, Carib of Mo- 
nica River. Bli, Makusi. CC, Warrau. 


When at the side, the excavation may take place along its whole edge 
(L. M) or only at its middle (N, O, P, Q, K, S) or upper extremity 
(X, Y). If at the base, there will be a risk of loss of stability, and 
hence this variation is only met with in those stools which are in- 
ordinately low or inordinately strong (D, E, F, Z, AA). If the 
removal is effected at the center, the resulting aperture is either 
rectangular (M, T, V, W), triangular (O, S, Y), or circular (E). 
Shoidd the stool be an extra large one there may be two rectangular 
openings, giving rise to three limbs, legs, or supports, as observed on 
the Moruca River (CC), on the Uaupes Eiver (KG, i, 139), and else- 
where. As a stool or seat the article is complete so far as the com- 
bination of symmetry, shape, strength, and weight allows. Whatever 
else it may be subjected to, such as shaving down, scooping out, paint- 
ing, and carving (G, H, R, S, AA, BB, CC), is a secondary develop- 
ment, a matter of decoration and ornament, whatever 
creature is represented being made to fit the stool. The 
stool has not originally been designed to represent 
either animal or bird. The only exception I can call to 
mind of the wings of a stool being excavated in such a 
manner as to fit the animal is the " praying mantis " 
seat of the Makusi (BB), where the insect's front pair 
of legs are indisputable (pi. 66 B). 

330. As to asymmetrical forms there is a three- 
legged stool met with throughout the countiy of these 
same Makusi — a triangular seat with a leg projecting 
from each corner (pi. 66 C). It is known to these 
people as the baby, and represents an infant in the 

FlG. 82.— Makusi '■ .\. . .^,. , • i ■. ^i , i- ^i 

girl carrying position of Sitting astride its mother s hips, the manner 

the baby stool, after which the children of the household may often 

be seen playing with it (fig. 82). The notch across one edge of the 

seat indicates the fold of the buttocks. Three-legged stools with and 

without animal presentations were used among the Antilleans. 

331. Whenever comparatively large-sized '" turtle "' are abundant 
the carapace may be used as a seat — e. g., Wapishana, Atorai (Cou, 
n, 311), Makusi. 

332. There are also some among them (Island Carib) who have 
little tables, matutu, plaited from the leaves of a kind of palm which 
is called the latanier. They are fixed on four wooden pillars (RO, 
472, 490). These relics of the past were evidently analogous with 
the large basketry cassava trays, fixed on four wooden legs, as met 
with on the mainland among various Carib and Arawak stocks at 
the present day (sec. 405). 

333. The babracote (fig. 83) may be made of three sticks stuck 
into the ground like a pyramid, tied together at their tops, and sup- 



-I , A bench from rayciinc. (After Barri-re.) 

B, The "praying mantis" trench of the ^faktisi. 


C, The three legged btool of the Makuai. 




A, SLoiie chijis removctl from a Tanima prater. B, Stone chip ca-^sava graLer. Tariima. (Georgetown 
Museum.) C, Ca-^sava £:raling on the L'^Iands; middle seventeenth century. (After Rochefort.) D, 
Stone chip cassava praters from Ihc Uatipes River district. (After Kach-Griinbcrg.) 




porting a frame about halfway (A) ; or of four uprights in the form 
of forked sticks, upon which two pieces rest lengthwise, and on these 
other sticks are laid crosswise (B). In Makusi and Patamona 
houses I have seen portable ones — portable in the sense that they can 
be shifted as a whole to whichever portion of the habitation they 
may be required — made of four sticks tied together at their tops (C). 
The women seem, generally speaking, to look after the babracote. 
It is certainly their business to do so at night and to keep watch lest 
the house dogs should make a snap at whatever meat, etc., is being 
smoke dried. 

334. For grating cassava, after it has been peeled, rough-surfaced 
stones were originally and are still being employed. Thus the Island 
Carib used certain hard, rough stones {pierres dures et picotees) 
which were found in the streams, something like our pumicestone 
(EO. 498). In British Guiana cassava was grated on a rough 
cragged stone (BA, 278), as was the case in Surinam, where it was 
known as matta (St, i, 
388-389). A stone is also 
employed at the present 
day by the Waiwai and 
Taruma in our own colony. 
Many thin slabs break 
off the great granite and 
gneiss bowlders, probably 
an inch thick and from 1 
to 2 feet across. Weather- 
ing gives these I'ocks a 
characteristic roughness 
which answers admirably for grating, and, indeed, they are preferred 
when reducing certain fruits. They are used when all their up-to- 
date graters have been sold (JO). 

335. The earliest mention of cassava graters seems to have been 
made for the mainland in Cayenne by Barrere, who speaks of these 
articles as bristling with little pieces of stone shaped in facets, etc., 
on a board 2 feet long and 8 inches wide, which formed a kind of 
rasp (PBA, 139). It formed an article of barter with the French 
(PBA, 31). One of the timbers from which the board is said to be 
constructed is the soft outer layer of the purple-heart (Br, 30). The 
stone chips have been described as flint flakes (FE, 68), hard green 
stone (Br, 30). quartz (Cr, 507-508), sharp pebbles (StC, i, 312), 
and gi-anite (KG, i, 78-79). Besides karamanni the chips are stated 
to have been secured in position with a kind of dried bird lime 
(Cr, 507-508) ; a vegetable glue called wabba obtained from the 
fruit of a tree or shrub called ducalli (Ti, June, 1883, p. 125) ; or 
with balata (GO, 5). According to what Crevaux says, one might be 

Fic. 83. — Types of babracoto. 



[ETH. ANN. : 

inclined to believe that occasionally this adhesive substance, whatever 
it was, did not prove sufficiently strong. Before using these imple- 
ments . . . they have to be moistened so as to make the timber swell, 
which thus helps to keep the stone chips more firmly fixed (Cr, 119). 
The largest kind of grater would appear to come from the upper 
Eio Xegro area, where Wallace gives their dimensions as about 3 
feet long and 1 foot wide (ARW, 326) with a "boss" on the front. 
The smallest, a kind specially made for grating Brazil nuts by the 
Taruma on the headwaters of the Essequibo. measures about 4 by 8 
inches (-TO). 

336. A description of the manufacture of a cassava grater among 
the Taruma can be made under four headings: The preparation of 
the board (by men), the making of the stone chips (by women), their 
fixation into it (bj^ men and women), and the final touches (by men). 

337. To get the 
board, a man will fell 
, a tree (one of the 
Simarukas ? ) , cut off a 
block 2 or 3 feet long 
from the outside part, 
and square it down 
with a cutlass to a piece 
from 15 to 20 inches 
wide and about 1 inch 
thick, making the front 
and back slightly con- 
cave and convex, re- 
spectively. He finally 
draws his " diagram " on the front of the board with his finger dipped 
in a vegetable dye. This diagram or pattern is a rectangular figure, 
crossed with parallel diagonals, leaving a free margin of from one-half 
to 1 inch at the sides, and from 3 to 6 inches at the ends ( fig. 84, A, B,C ) . 
338. With regard to the preparation of the stone chips, the only 
quarry in the Taruma country where this particular stone (a por- 
phyry) is obtained is about a mile above the Duarwau (Kuassi-kiju) 
Creek, where an outcrop runs across the bottom of the Essequibo 
River, and hence can only be obtained in the very dry season. Brown 
and Sawkins, in their Geology of Guiana, London, 1875, page 
193, thus describe the stone : " Just beyond the mouth of the Cassikitu 
(Kuassi-kiju) River the granite gives way and is succeeded by 
quartz porphyry. It is of a gray color, is composed of crystals of 
feldspar in a feldspathic base, along with green chlorite crystals in 
aggregation, and contains but few quartz crystals." Besides Taruma, 
the Waiwai. Parikuta. and Wapishana may come to fetch stone from 
here, though the AVaiwai have a quarry in their own country on top 

Fig. 84. — Stone chip cassava grater, 
the linos alonfi which the chips 

Diagram showing 
are inserte<l. 


of a mountain just beyond the extreme border of the colony. Blocks 
of from 10 to 50 pounds are removed, one piece of stone being broken 
upon anothei'. The stone may be sometimes roasted to render it more 

339. Flaking is now commenced in the usual manner along any 
convenient ridge, with the edge comer (back or front) of a broken 
piece of cutlass, about 6 inches long, which acts as a " hammer stone." 
Flakes come off, as a rule, about 1 to 1| inches in width and one- 
sixteenth inch in thickness; and in various shapes — circular, semi- 
lunar, lanceolate, and foliate, the latter frequently with a " shoulder." 
Great care is taken to get uniformity in thickness, but width and 
length do not matter. Experience gives great slvill in this manipu- 
lation, and a good worker (invariably a woman) will only discard 
about 5 per cent of her flakes. Sitting on tlie ground, she rests the 
board lengthwise on her legs extended in front, and places a flake on 
the free end margin of the board, using the same cutlass corner 
edgewise. She will, with a sharp blow at the center, smash the flake 
into a varv'ing number of pieces. Of these latter only a few will be 
suitable for her purpose, and of these few one or perhaps two may be 
of the necessary shape ready to be driven into the board straight 
away, while others ma}"^ require narrowing or pointing. To do this 
she securely presses the chip under her left forefinger nail, covering 
with it all that portion which she wishes to retain, and leaving ex- 
posed that which is not required. The latter she then pulverizes 
with a blow of her cutlass. By this means the chip can be limited to 
any size or shape desired. Her aim is to get each chip pyramidal 
with two o^^posite sides broader (more flattened) than the interven- 
ing ones (pi. 67 A). When finally inserted in the board, the broader 
.sides are fixed parallel with the long axis of the grater. The tapping 
continues from morning until night, and when a large number of 
women are engaged at the work, the din becomes almost unbearable 
to an outsider. On account of the cutlass edge catching the upper 
end of the finger nail eacli time a blow is struck the latter undergoes 
a curious horny development. 

340. When the chip is worked into proper shape a hole is prepared 
for it in the board with a pointed bone tip — that from the femur 
of the black couata monkey — and chip after chip is inserted in 
regular sequence, the whole being guided according to the lines of 
the diagram. A commencement is made at the bottom right-hand 
corner, fixing a chip at every crossing of the diagonal, and following 
it up to the top left-hand corner. The bottom row is next started 
from left to right, with a chip as before at each intersection of the 
cross lines ; then the next row from left to right, and so on until the 
diagonal is reached (fig. 84 C ) . It will be noticed that by this arrange- 



[ETH. ANN. 33 

ment the units of one row lie in spaces intervening between any two 
in the row preceding or succeeding — they run diagonally, like the 
rasps on a wood file. The board is now turned round, the bottom 
row commenced as before from left to right, and so on. Wlien the 
top is reached the woman's share of the work ends. Working hard, 
she will finish one in three days. 

341. The chips that have thus been placed in regular position are 
secured by (a man) pouring over them and the board a warmed mix- 
ture of karamanni milk and red paint (Bixa), pouring off and allow- 
ing to dry. When dried, he will paint, sometimes incise, the back 
of the board and the free margins of the front in various patterns 

342. Besides being manufactured in the area of the headwaters of 
the Essequibo by Taruma (pi. 67 B), Waiwai, Parikuta, and per- 
haps formerly on the 

Eupununi by Wapishana, 
another important source 
of supply of the stone- 
chip gratei"s is from the 
upper Eio Negro disti'ict, 
on the Rio Igana, by the 
Katapolitani and Karu- 
tana women, both of them 
Arawak stock (KG, i, 
78-79). These latter 


Fig. 85.- 

-X specially marie cassava 

articles are about 3 feet long and 1 foot wide, rather concave, and 
with a central longitudinal boss at the narrower end (pis. 67 D; 
75 C,«). 

343. To put a gi'ater to use the woman, sitting on the ground, may 
place it between her legs and so scrape the cassava root in a sort of 
forward and backward movement; or, standing up, she may tilt the 
grater at an angle, bend over, and support it in the fold of her 
waist. On the islands, after the rough stones were discarded, it 
would seem that the grater was supported by a sort of stand, as repre- 
sented in an old woodcut, without anj^ letterpress (RO, 10.5). 
Strange to say, a man is figured as doing the grating, but it is diffi- 
cult to decide whether he is intended to represent an Indian or a 
Negi-o slave (pi. 67 C). 

344. Cassava "canoe." — The detritus of the cassava rubbed upon 
the grater is dropped and collected into some sort of utensil, gen- 
erally a curled-up piece of bark or a portion of broken-up corial. 
At a Makusi village on Piwiyi Creek I saw such a cassava canoe 
specially made for the purpose, of peculiar shape and of unusual size 
(fig. 85). It was flat bottomed outside and inside, deeper and wider 
at one end than at the other; the inside cut square and sloping at 


an angle, the outer side rounded off. It was about 5 feet long and 
7 or 8 inches high at the shallower extremity, which was about 20 
inches wide. From the " canoe " tlie cassava is passed into the niatapi. 
345. The cassava squeezer, or matapi (pi. 68), which is perhaps 
its true Carib name, is met with from the borders of Cayenne, 
through Surinam and British Guiana, as far westward as the upper 
Rio Negro. This matapi was known in Surinam as the Carib snake 
(FE, 68), and in this connection it is interesting to note the legend 
given by Dance of the first Arawak man, who, by observing the 
motion of a snake while swallowing its prey and the direction of 
tlie lines upon its back, formed the matapi for expressing the juice 
of the cassava (Da. 102). The scientific history, liowever. of its 
evolution is very unsatisfactory. The circular sifter supported on a 
triang-idar frame through wliich the cassava juice was squeezed by 
hand pressure (sec. 236) would have got more or less sagged in the 
center. This may have led to the kamaiyo basket with a conical base 
(sec. 257). through which the paiwarri drink is still sometimes 
strained, and which, if lengthened and closed at the top, would 
satisfy the necessary conditions for rendering intelligible Van Ber- 
kel's description of the article as recorded some 250 years ago on the 
Berbice. He speaks of a " Press about i feet long and plaited very 
compactly with fine cane. The women now proceed to sit on it and 
press the overlying cover or board so much that it causes it (the 
juice) to run out below through a certain opening" (BER, 70). Is 
it possible that the present-time method of exerting pressure by 
means of a lever (sec. 355) has been introduced by the negro? 
On the Cuyuni the contrivance was called a tenge (BB, 24) ; on 
the Waini, where it was made from a species of calathea, Schom- 
burgk speaks of it as atupa (SR, i, 124) ; while among the Uaupes 
River Indians Wallace calls it tipiti, at the same time mentioning 
liow it constitutes a considerable article of trade, the Portuguese 
and Brazilians not yet having introduced any substitute for this 
rude Indian press (ARW, 337). Wallace employs the term matapi 
to express a wicker creel for catching fish (ARW. 339-340). Other 
names for it are aru-huba (Warrau). ton-ki (Makusi). nirr (Wapi- 
shana), yuro (Arawak). From the fact that Gumilla, so accu- 
rate an observer, makes no mention of a matapi in his descrip- 
tion of cassava manufacture, though he speaks of the poisonous juice 
being expressed (G, ii, 242), it may perhaps be assumed that the 
article was not known in his day on those portions of the Orinoco 
with which he treats. This conclusion is quite feasible, considering 
that even at the present day on the Uaupes River, not so very far 
away from it, the juice is still expressed by hand pressure (sec. 236). 
60160°— 24 19 


346. The manufacture of the cassava squeezer (WER.ii). — Terms: 
The Arawak Indians differentiate the component parts of a cassava 
squeezer (pi. 69. fig. 1, A) into head (a), mouth (h). body (c), and 
ankle (d). These terms I propose utilizing, with the modification of 
the last mentioned into an ankle ring, at the same time introducing a 
new element, the leg (e), between it and the body proper. So, for 
technical purposes tlie head (F) consists of a collar (a), through 
which the article is himg, and neck (h), while the body may be re- 
garded as constructed of a shoulder (c) , shoulder girdle (K, L, M, a) , 
body proper (h), and hip girdle (c), and it is on these lines that the 
manufacture of the squeezer as a whole will be described. The cas- 
sava squeezer is only made by men. 

347. Foundation : A commencement is made by plaiting at their 
center a set of itiriti strands into another series laid at right angles. 
As often as not, with a view perhaps to bringing out the pattern 
more distinctly or for other reasons, the elements of one set are laid 
on their outer surfaces, those of the other on their inner. The stain- 
ing of the strands is not adopted for squeezers destined for domestic 
use. The plaiting process consists in passing each strand alternately 
under and over a set of three, each such strand at the point of under- 
lapping and overlapping being always in advance of the one imme- 
diately preceding it, to the extent of its own width. The resulting 
stepping-stone arrangement is seen in plate 69. figui-e 1. B. where the 
squeezer is being manufactured on a foundation of 16 strands. 9 of 
which are placed horizontally and 7 vertically. But in the larger 
varieties, 24, 28, or 32 strands may be employed in the foundation, 
and under such circumstances there will be, respectively, 13, 1.5, and 
17 placed horizontally, with 11. 13, and 15 vertically. Furthermore, 
for the larger specimens, which measure, on the stretch, well over 6 
feet, the itiriti strands, which are continuous throughout the whole 
extent of the article, may not prove sufficiently long. In these cases 
a commencement is made by superposing each two strands to the 
extent of about inches and plaiting tb.em at their centers of super- 
position as if they together constituted but one. Another advantage 
of this " lengthening " process is that it affords the proportionately 
extra strength now required. 

348. Collar and neck: Once completed, the rectangular founda- 
tion is turned around on its diagonal axis, so as to represent more or the conventional diamond (pi. 69. fig. 1, C). The strands project- 
ing from the upper and lower portions of one side of this diamond are 
next plaited into one another in such a manner that, as each succes- 
sive strand reaches the lines, which will ultimately limit the iq^per 
and lower edges of the collar now in the course of formation, it is 
bent baclvward, outward, and downward at the former limit, back- 




FiQ. 1.— From head to hip girdle. 


Fig. 2.— Fomiirig the leg. 

Fig. 3.— Formnig the ankle ring. 




ward, outwai'd and upward at the latter. More than this, siibse- 
fjiiently to the bending, each successive strand passes behind two 
others before it rejoins the plait. The plait is continued to form this 
band until such time as three strands alone remain at its lower outer 
comer (D). Occasionally during the bending process, each strand 
may pass behind three others, but four free ones will then have to be 
left at the lowar corner. Half the collar being now finished, it is 
turned on its other side and the remaining half completed in similar 
fashion. The two lateral edges of the collar, which is bent on itself 
into more or less of a ring, are then plaited together and constitute 
the neck (E. F, 6). ^ 

349. Shoulder: To form the shoulder (pi. 69, fig. 1, E, F, c) addi- 
tional strands placed parallel with the free side of the collar just com- 
pleted are plaited into those stretching therefrom, the former being 
ultimately worked in among themselves by the bending process (al- 
ready described) upon reaching the limits of what the Indians call 
the mouth. Wlien finished, the shoulder forms with the lower half of 
the collar a triangular surface with its vertex, the scapular point 
(p) downward. The number of additional strands inserted for the 
manufacture of the shoulder may be the same as that of those em- 
ployed in the foundation (9+7=16 in the present instance), any 
extra being put in with the view, not only of increasing the capacity 
of the future body, but also of insuring that the total number — 
foundation, additional, and extra — together constitute some multiple 
of three. These essentials may be tabulated as follows : 





mate num- 
ber of stems 



1 (or 4) 





2 (or 5) 










1 (or 4) 





2 (or 5) 



It thus comes about that the size of a cassava squeezer is gauged 
by tlie number of itiriti stems used in its manufacture, eight strands, 
as already shown (sec. 101), being allowed to each stem. Instead of 
describing the article as being so many feet long or of such and such 
cubical capacity, etc., the Indian simply speaks of it as so many itiriti. 
Those of six and eight itiriti, the largest manufactured, are orthodox 
(i. e., employed for actual domestic use) ; those of seven itiriti I have 
never seen, while all those of a lower denomination are made for sale 


as curios, etc., to tourists and others. Though two squeezers may be 
made of the same number of stems, their length is not necessarily 
identical, this varying with the height of the rafter on which they 
are intended to be hung. It must not be forgotten that in the larger 
varieties the additional and extra strands may also be lengthened Ijy 
superposition like the foundation strands (sec. 347). 

350. Shoulder girdle: The two upper angles of the triangular 
area (pi. 69, fig. 1, E, F), formed of the shoulder and lower half of 
the collar, are next plaited and joined (G) , the space intervening be- 
tween the two free sides being filled up by a continuation of the proc- 
ess, with the final result that, extending from between the mouth to 
the level of the scapular point, there is now formed what may be re- 
garded as the shoulder girdle (H). When the number of strands 
employed in the construction of the shoulder is not in accordance with 
the essentials laid down in the preceding table, the lower edge of this 
shoulder girdle will show an interspace, the width either of one or of 
two strands. Owing to carelessness, hurry, or forgetfulness, such a 
contingency will often happen, but it can easily be met by inserting 
within the lacuna the necessary one or two required. Though, under 
such circumstances, the skill and dexterity of the artificer may be 
called in question, the article is none the worse for it from an eco- 
nomic point of view. So far, the pattern followed in the plait has 
been the same all the way through — a horizontal series of exposed 
pieces of strand leaning on the slant upon another series, above and 
below, bearing in the opposite direction (K, L, M, a) . This gives the 
pattern its Arawak name of ayuledahe (to lean against). 

351. Body proper: With the formation of the body proper, how- 
ever, the pattern changes from horizontal to vertical, the plaiting 
now taking on one or another of three forms — the assa-uda (pi. 69. 
fig. 1, K, b), the abuna-buna-tahu (L, h), and the aha-(h)abba-dahu 
(M. &). The first is so named after the assa fish scales, which the 
pattern closely resembles, and tuda, the skin. The Warrau, how- 
ever, speak of the pattern as a pathway cleared by kushi ants. 
Abuna-buna-tahu is the plural form of tabuna (a bone), the term 
applied to any little piece of exposed strand in a plait work. It is 
a pattern which, by its construction, has to be worked in more or 
less of a spiral, but instead of continuing each spiral throughout the 
length of the body proper it may be reversed after a time, then 
brought back to its original direction, and so on alternately. If the 
reversing process is followed, the resultant pattern as a whole gives 
rise to the appearance of vertically arranged very open zigzags. 
The term aha-(h)abba-dahu is adapted from habba, the four-legged 
cassava basket, the sides of which ought to be plaited in this (the 


orthodox) pattern. The Warrau, however, describe this pattern as 
the snake mark. 

352. Hip girdle : AVlien tlie body proper has been thus constructed 
to the required length, the plait, whatever its pattern, reverts to the 
original or ayuledahe form, of which three or four, of course hori- 
zontal, series are made. These constitute the hip girdle (pi. 69, fig. 1, 
K, L,M, c). 

353. Leg: Starting from the center of the lower border of this hip 
girdle, front and back, the strands are divided and plaited to form 
two lateral triangular lappets (pi. 69, fig. 2 A, B, I), with the result 
that the free ends of the strands form four gi-oups or tails, two of 
which are anterior {a, c) and two posterior (5, d). By jjassing suc- 
cessive sets of two strands, each from one anterior tail (a) , alternately 
over and under corresponding successive sets of two strands, each 
from the other (C) , and repeating the jirocess with the posterior tails, 
the four groups of free strands will of course change places, the two 
at the back coming to the front, and vice versa, while the lappets are 
being simultaneously pulled into closer and closer apposition (D). 
Next comes the plaiting together on each side into a band (pi. 69. fig. 3 
A, m-, n), of the anterior and posterior groujas (i. e., a with h, and c 
with d), the original underlapping and overlapping of three strands 
at a time being reverted to, but with the very important proviso that 
every two strands are suiDerposed and plaited together as a single 
one. When, after each set of two has been worked in, it is found 
that there is a strand over, it must be superposed on the adjacent 
double strand, and all three plaited together as a single. In conse- 
quence of the former process, the lappets become gradually more 
or less surrounded and hidden. In consequence of the latter, the 
sectional area of the cylinder is first greatly reduced, while the 
cylinder itself next disappears in direct proportion as the two lateral 
bands (resulting from the plaiting together of the anterior or pos- 
terior groups of strands on each side) come into being. 

35-t. Ankle ring: Save that every two strands are superposed and 
plaited together as a single one, each of these flat lateral bands is con- 
structed on exactly the same lines as the original collar, the outer 
edge being " bent " in similar manner, the exact number of strands 
so treated varying with the size of ankle ring required. Suitable 
lengths being selected, these two bands are plaited together (pi. 69, 
fig. 3B) to form the ring, the four groups of strands (w, a?, y,s), re- 
sulting at their junction, being worked off, tied at their extremities 
(C, D) and folded inward so as to be tucked into the concavity (E) 
of the ring. 

355. To put the matapi to use it is filled handful by handful, each 
well squeezed, from the cassava " mess " that has been deposited in 



[ETH. ANN. 3S 

the canoe (sec. 344). It is next hung up by the collar (fig. 8G) 
onto a suitable projecting beam (a), while a strong pole (&), passed 
through the ankle ring, is tucked under a fork made by tying a 
strong stick {c) at an acute angle to a house post (d). The pole acts 
as a lever, the fork as the fulcrum. By the woman throwing her 
whole weight, usually sitting, on the free end of the pole the matapi 
is extended, its diameter consequently diminished, the contents 
squeezed, and the poisonous juice, which is expressed through the 

interstices of the plait, 
allowed to run down and 
drip into a vessel i^laced 
beneath to collect it. 

A miniature form of 
matapi is employed for ex- 
tracting the oil from the 
crab-wood nut paste and 
from the kokerit seed (sec. 
25). In Surinam it was 
similarly used for obtain- 
ing oil from the awarra 
palm (AK, 281). 

356. Cassava sifter. — Re- 
moved from the matapi, 
and subsequently dried and 
pounded, the cassava is 
next passed through a 
sifter, the manari of the 
Arawak and Wapishana. 
Arawak and Warrau make 
two varieties of sifter — 
one for their own personal 
use, another for sale and 
barter — the diffei-ence lying 
in the manner in which the 
edging is completed, the process of manufacture of the main body 
being otherwise identical. Itiriti strands are the ones employed 
(pi. 70 A), one set of three (m) being plaited into another set of 
three (?;) placed at right angles to form a foundation upon which 
the resulting square body, about 18 inches in diameter, is plaited. 
As will be recognized from the illustration, the manner in which 
the two commencing treble sets are arranged allows for the com- 
paratively large interspaces between the other strands as they are 
successively inserted. The plaiting of these consists in one strand 
alternately passing over and under two others. Along all four edges 
of the completed square the free ends of the strands project about 

Fig. 8fi. — Mothod of nsinj? llie cassava squeezer. 




A , Pattern of Ihe foimdalion. ]1, C. The orthodux ralgiiig for homi; use. D, £, Edging employnl if fur sale or barter. 

F, Rails locked and tied. 


A, Cassava sifter. Arawak, Wapithana. Makiisi, etc. 

B, Farinu sifter. Jlakiisi, Wapisluuia. 




A , With a vcrtk-al laminated cdciiig. B, Witli a combined vertical and horizontal laminated edging. 



A , Bf Vertical; C, D, combined vertical and horizontal taiuiiiuted ed^iiiK- 


another 12 inches. Two sticks or rails (B, to, w) are now placed 
across the bases of the projecting strands so as to lie parallel with 
the edge of the square, the outer rail being about 3 inches distant 
from it. In the variety of sifter reserved for domestic requirements, 
which is naturally the stronger and better of the two, the edging 
is completed as follows: Starting at a corner from right to left, the 
projecting strands are taken up two at a time (ffA), rolled twice 
over the outside rail, then passed behind themselves and over the 
inside rail, to be finally again tucked behind themselves, and now 
looped so that their free extremities {gg) lie on top. The same 
process is repeated with the second pair of strands, and so on. the 
free ends left over from the previous ones being always included in 
the lower loop. Of course the bundle composed of these free ends 
becomes too unwieldy after a time, when it will be appropriately 
thinned by cutting away as many as may be necessary. Upon com- 
I^letion of one side of the square the next is treated in similar fash- 
ion (C), the bundle of free ends remaining from the former being 
included in the lower loops of the latter. All four sides arc thus 
similarly dealt with. In the variety of sifter (D) manufactured for 
purposes of sale, etc., there is no looping below the inside rail, but 
the two free ends {gg) of the projecting strands are together passed 
from behind over and under the two immediately succeeding pairs. 
The free ends of the next pair of strands {cd) emerge just below 
these, and the next {ef) below these again, and so on, the interven- 
ing space between the edge of the plaited square and the inside rail 
being just a little greater than the combined width of three strands. 
The free extremities still left projecting (E) are now bent or 
"broken," plaited one-over-and-under-two between themselves (A-A), 
and finally trimmed. With both varieties, the article is now taken 
from off the flat, the position in which so far it has been plaited, 
and folded along each diagonal whereby the contiguous pairs of 
rails are locked, and where they are subsequently fixed by tying (F), 
the original square mat being thus converted into a sifter with a 
firmly raised specially constructed border (WER, v). 

357. Wapishana and Makusi plait the body or foundation of their 
sifters with similar material on practically identical lines, save for 
the slight variation in which the commencing treble sets of strands 
are arranged (fig. 87). In the larger articles, instead of one treble 
set being crossed by another, there may be two crossing each way 
(pi. 71 A) . Their edging follows the pattern of the orthodox Arawak 
type, but among the Makusi interesting variations have been met with, 
the projecting strands, subsequent to their attachment to the rails, ter- 
minating either in a vertical (pi. 72 A) or combined vertical and 



lETH. -l.\'-\. 38 

horizontal (pi. 72 B) laminated edging. The technique is repre- 
sented in plate 73 A, B, and C, D, respectively. 

358. Among the Malaisi and Wapishana of the Takutu is to be 
seen a sifter with the bodj' plaited in two distinct models (pi. 71 B; 
fig. 88) — an inner central portion not distinguishable from the pattern 
to be observed on an "Austrian "' cane seat, and an outer one iden- 

FiG. 87. — The Makusi and Waijishaiia cassava sifter. 

tical with what has been already I'ecorded. I have seen it employed 
in the manufacture of farine. 

359. While the sifters of the Siusi (Arawak stock) and Unnana 
(Betoya) of the upper Rio Negro bear resemblance in their dupli- 
cated rectangular frames (KG, ii, 220) to the articles above de- 
scribed, the technique of the body is quite different (pi. 74B). The 
former is a checker pattern spaced ; the latter a hexagonal one. (Sees. 
106, 109.) In marked contract to these simpler forms are the very 
complicated round sifters of the Oyana (GOE, pi. viii, fig. 4). and 




of the Waiwai. Unfortiiiuitcly, I have so far had no opportunity 
of handling a specimen so as to describe the technique. 

360. To strain the pounded cassava the sifter is either rested be- 
tween the forks of the big toes, over the extended and open legs, 
between which it falls onto a mat placed below (pi. 74 A), or else 
held upon a tray. In the latter case, dependent upon the size, it is 
placed over it, at right angles or diagonally. A natural form of 
strainer or filter, but not fur cassa\a, is the sponge-like cellular tex- 


I'ic. SS. — Diagram of fariiic sifter shown iu plate 71 B. 

ture of the fruit of the Luff a aegyptkiea used in the manufacture of 
urari (App, ii. 474) ; another is the bundle of grass employed in the 
preparation of salt (sec. 151). 

361. Baking ovens, griddles. — Among the Arekuna (Taurepang), 
Patamona, and outlying settlements of the Makusi, I have seen nat- 
urally split slabs fi'om the granite and gneiss bowlders still used for 
baking ovens. The present-day Taruma, Waiwai, and Parikuta 
also use them (JO). They may sometimes be seen chipped more or 
less roughly into circles of from 12 to 18 inches diameter. There 
are several references in the literature to the old-time use of flat 
.stones for the cassava grids (St, i, 388; BA, 278; Cr, 119). 


362. In the upper Rio Negro area Wallace speaks of certain cas- 
sava ovens, varying from 4 to 6 feet in diameter with a sloping rim 
about 6 inches high. These ovens are well made of clay, mixed with 
the ashes of the bark of a tree called caripe, and are supported on 
walls of mud about 2 feet high, with a large opening on one side to 
make a fire of logs (ARW, 337). The illustration which he fur- 
nishes, however (pi. 7.5 C,b), shows two stokeholes, thus agi-eeing with 
the present-day account of them (KG, ii. '207). At a Makusi house 
at Nosang-Motah (lit., old woman — little) Mountain, to the east of 
Samara ng, a Makusi village on the Brazilian side of the Ireng, I 
saw a large flat clay baking oven resting on six or seven blocks of 
clay around its circumference, and another at its center. Though 
many remains of such clay baking pans were observed in the Makusi, 
Patamona. and Arekuna areas, no others were seen in use. Clay 
hearths are also mentioned on the mainland by St. Clair (StC, i, 
312), Crevaux (Cr, 119), and Ule (EU, 290). They have also been 
recorded from the islands (RO, 508). 

363. More than a century and a half ago the iron plate for baking 
cassava constituted an article of barter, in conjunction with several 
other articles, for Indian slaves in Cayenne (PBA, 108). 

364. On the upper Orinoco and Guaviar Rivers Crevaux states 
that the Mitoua commence cooking operations by disposing in a 
ti'iangle three stones between which they place their firebrands, thus 
serving as a tripod for their utensils, and forming galleries for cur- 
rents of air (Cr, 514). Schomburgk similarly relates how the 
Makusi on the Rupununi boil their pots over three stones like a tri- 
pod (SR, I, 360). It was Wallace who first mentioned the set of 
three clay cylinders (pi. 75 B; C, c) for supporting cooking uten- 
sils among the Uaupes River Indians (ARW, 350). On the Pome- 
roon, Moruca, etc., all Arawak, Carib, and Warrau have their pots, 
cassava gi'ids, etc., resting on three irons, usually the upturned 
handles of discarded or broken cutlasses. To keep the fire " in," the 
pieces of firewood are laid so as to converge and meet at the center 
of the hearth. As their ends become gradually consumed, the fuel is 
proportionately pvished more and more toward the center (pi. 76). 

365. For smoothing and leveling the cassava " cake " while on 
the grid, and thus insuring its uniform thickness, Arawak, Carib, 
Makusi, etc.. employ a wooden implement with a handle, much after 
the style of a flatiron {pi. 77). It is known as hessu to the Ara- 
wak, among whom, on the Pomeroon, as is the case with the Carib, 
it is now almost obsolete, its j^urpose being effected with the edge of 
the fan which the woman invariably has by her to keep the fire aflame. 

366. Distinct shapes of fans appear among certain of the tribes, 
as the shovel-shaped (Arawak) and the rectangular (Carib, Aka- 



.1, Sifting cassava. (After .1. Ogihio.) 

£, Cassava sifters of the upper Rio Negro. (After ICoch-Oriinberg.) 





J2 ^ 












& rt 



— c5 


C/l - 


S H 


tii) s 


=3 k 


■'•^ .- 


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O 03 




c S 

'2 a 

1^ -2 





2 a 

Z 3 S' 

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III o ' 

— ~ "o 




;,: 3 






s :- 


o ffl z: 

— i> 

" •§ _: 

g a ° 

>_ -d "3 






















A , Sawfish; B, wishbone ; C, V, E, sling-ray gill patterns. 



[To render the diagram clearer, the blade itself is not represented.) 


wai), the shape depending, of course, upon the technique of the 
plaitwork. A heart-shaped one comes from the ' Caiai\v-Uaupes 
River (KG. ii, 208). Among some of their names are warri-warri 
(Arawak), oriwa (Makusi), awarribe (Wapishana). They are made 
from the pinnae of the imexpanded leaves of the Astrocaryum, and 
by Carib, Patamona, etc., from split itiriti. Fans are invariably 
plaited by the men, though only employed by women, and then 
only for fanning the fire and for smoothing and turning over the 
cassava cake on the grid. There is an Arawak belief that were a 
woman to use one on herself she would gradually lose flesh and 
waste away. Duff speaks of another type of fan, apparently from the 
Berbice, which, even if manufactured by the native Indians, is un- 
doubtedly an imitation of the kind introduced by coolie and Chinese 
immigrants. This fan is made by cutting off the ribs of the young 
leaf of the ite palm {Mauntia fexuosa) at a certain distance from the 
center stalk so as to form it into nearly a circle. The strong rib of an 
old leaf is then formed into a circle by fastening the ends of it into 
the midrib or leafstalk and then twisting the outer edges of the young 
leaf, previously cut to the proper length, to suit the intended size 
of the fan. As the edges are twisted around the old rib they are 
tightly fastened with a very small thread of the tibisiri (ite fiber). 
The center or footstalk of the leaf serves for a handle to the fan 
(DF, 59). 

367. Arawak fan (WEE, ii). — ^The three designs found are the 
baiyari-shiri (pi. 78, A), the marudi sararang (B), and the duburi 
kaiasanna (C, D, E), of which the respective English equivalents 
are "fish-comb" (i. e., the snout of the sawfish), marudi bone (i. e., 
the "wishbone" of the Penelope), and sting-ray gills. The sawfish 
and wishbone patterns are also found among the Makusi. Wapishana, 
etc. The latter is also apparently made by the Trio (GOE, pi. viii, 
fig. 9). There are at least three variations in the third design. 

Terms: For descriptive purposes an Arawak fan may be regarded 
as composed of a blade and handle, the former consisting of a body 
and two wings (fig. 89, A, to). The body is made up of a founda- 
tion (ff), a superstructure or substructure (5, e, according to the 
pattern), and two gables {d). Made by men. 

Arawak nomenclature : The two halves of the handle are the 
tajike (ears), that portion of the blade in its immediate neighbor- 
hood is the tishi (head), its opposite edge the tishi-hudi, the lateral 
edges taramakondi, the front or upper surface tajako-maria, and 
its back or lower surface tabong-maria. 

The initial procedure will vary with the design introduced on 
the blade, the only constancy prevailing being that, after the strands 
of split Astrocaryum have been arranged, with their points all in 



[ETH. ANN. 33 

one direction, the plait commences not at their respective centers (as 
in the cassava squeezers) l)Ut at a sjjot distant about a tliird of their 
lengths from the wider or butt (proximal) ends. 

Pig. 89. — Manufacture of Arawak fan, sawfish and wishbone pattei-na Starting from 
the central diamond in A, the gradual evolution of the sawfish and wishbone patterns 
is shown passing to the left, that of the sting-ra.v gill pattern to the right. 

368. The manufacture of the sawfish and wishbone patterns. — 
Foundation and superstructure: So far as the technique is con- 
cerned, these two patterns differ from one another only in their foun- 
dation and superstructure, and hence may be con\eiiiently desci-ibed 


together. With the sawfish the foundation is made by phiiting one 
set of nine strands more or less diagonally into another series of nine, 
according to the diamond arrangement illustrated (fig. ,89 B), where 
will be observed the small central spot of exposed strand which the 
Indians call the eye (c). The superstructure (C) is formed by plait- 
ing 15 or 16 additional strands into the upper edges of the dia- 
mond, care being taken that, whatever be the number plaited along 
the one edge, a similar number must be worked on the other; ab- 
sence of such provision renders the article askew and will ulti- 
mately prevent it fitting properly below. In the wishbone variety 12 
strands are employed in the foundation (D), while another 11 or 12 
may be added on either side to form the superstructure (E). 

369. Gable : On completion of the superstructure the strands pro- 
jecting from its upper lateral half are plaited into one another to 
form the gable (fig. 89 F), in such a manner that as each successive 
strand, starting from the apex of the superstructure, reaches the 
line which will ultimately limit the toja edge of the blade, it is bent 
backward, outward, and downward so as to underlie three or two 
(G) others before rejoining the plait. Of course, when the bent 
strand underlies three others, the edge of the article will be much 
stronger than with only two, and hence the former arrangement is 
usually met in the fans employed for everyday Indian domestic 
work; on the other hand, in the specimens made for purposes of 
trade, etc., each bent strand may underlie but one other (H). This 
bending and plaiting process proceeds until four strands remain at 
the top outer corner, provided three strands have been underlapped 
at each bending. Three or two must, however, remain if two or one, 
respectively, have been underlapped. The piece of plaiting being 
now reversed, the other gable is built in similar manner, and, with 
it, the body of the blade is finished. It will be noticed (F) that the 
strands projecting from the gable portions of the body's two sides 
are all formed of the tapering (distal) extremities (k), while those 
from the foundation and superstructure are composed of the butt 
(proximal) ends (I). 

370. Wing : Starting, then, on each side with the innermost of the 
four strands projecting from the upper corners of the body, these 
are bent, passed under the three remaining, and plaited parallel with 
the side of the body (by means of the usual underlapping and over- 
lapping of three at a time) until they reach the lower angle of the 
foundation, between the two innermost butts where they cross 
(fig. 90 A), the distal extremity of the one strand being finally 
tucked under and along the corresponding extremity of the other. 
(It should be noted that the size and method of construction of the 
fan are so adapted to the length of the leaf from which the strand is 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

derived that they just allow of this arrangement being made.) The 
process is repeated with the next two corresponding strands, and 
so on until all the distal extremities of the strands projecting from 
the gable portion of the body's sides have been plaited and tucked 
out of the way to constitute the two wings (B). 

371. Handle: The making of a handle out of the remaining proxi- 
mal ends of the strands projecting below the blade is next proceeded 

Fig. ttO. — Manufacture of Arawak fan — sawfish and wishbone patterns. 

with. Starting with the outermost, these are bent upward, suc- 
cessively and alternately one over the other (fig. 90 C), until the 
innermost butt is reached, each newly bent strand thus helping to 
keejD in position the one immediately behind. As a result, half the 
strands project more or less at an angle from the one surface of the 


blade and half from the other, thus constituting a set of two con- 
tiguous groups. After repeating the process with the butts project- 
ing from the other half of the blade, another set of two contiguous 
groups of strands is obtained (pi. 79 A). The outer components 
of each two contiguous groups are next bent upward as before, suc- 
cessively and alternately one over the other, and their extremities 
tied into two bundles (B, m m). The inner components, however, of 
the one set of two contiguous groups are plaited after the usual man- 
ner into the corresponding strands in the other set (o, o) . this plait 
with its projecting strands ultimately forming the outer covering of 
the four bundles which have been tucked up underneath (C). All 
these bundles are now lumped together and tied to constitute the 
handle. In the sawfish and wishbone patterns of fan, a flat pencil of 
wood may be passed from below through the plait in between the 
innermost butts into the lower portion of the foundation (pi. 78 B). 
The Indians say that, though this addition may mcrease the strength 
of the lower portion of the blade, it will tend to weaken it beyond. 

373. The manufacture of the "sting-ray gill" pattern. — Founda- 
tion and substructure: In the sting-ray fan the foundation is made 
by plaiting 13 strands into 13 (pi. 80 A), the pattern so produced 
being identical with a limited portion of the design introduced into 
the superstnicture of the sawfish and wishbone varieties. This is the 
locally orthodox Arawak pattern, but what are described as more 
easily constructed variations (B, C) are manufactured. Such com- 
pleted articles are shown, respectively, in plate 78 D and E. The 
substructure is obtained by adding a varying number of strands par- 
allel with the lower edges of this diamond, an equal number on each 
side, and plaiting in such a manner (pi. 80 D) that projecting below 
are two series of butt ends, the one series lying on the other. 

373. Gable, wing: Gables {d) and wings {w) are next successively 
constructed (pi. 80 E) on the same lines as with the other fans, the 
only real difference being that the distal poi-tions of the strands that 
Juave collectively formed the wings are not plaited into any of the 
butts, but are left free to be rouglily divided into tFree equal bundles 
{Pi ViP)- The three bundles from either side are then together tucked 
into and covered by the compartments formed by regularly crossing 
the upper and under series of butt ends three times, the only exception 
to this i-egularity being with the three outermost strands on opposite 
surfaces of the blade, where the bundles commence to be hidden (F). 
The next thing is carefully and successively to pull on the projecting 
extremities of the bundles and three outermost butts in the proper 
direction suitable for enabling the lower angle of each wing to be 
dragged more and more toward the center. 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

37-4. Handle : When this angle on each side reaches within cover 
of the butts, the latter are suitably arranged and tied to constitute 
a handle (pi. 80 F, ^, t) . The projecting extremities of the bundles 
(Pi Pi P) ^I'P finally cut off flush where they emerge from cover. 

375. The manufacture of the Carib fan. — This is of a rectangu- 
lar shape (fig. 91 A. B. C), the width exceeding the height, of a 

Fig. 91. 

-Carib (.4, B, C) and Akawai (D) fans. 

pattern composed of concentric rectangles, with or without a cen- 
tral grille, and made of split itiriti. Except for market purposes 
(i. e., for sale or barter to outsiders), the ratio of width to height is 
constant and the strands are not dyed. It is built upon the usual 
diamond foundation (ph 81, fig. 1 A, a) with gables (tZ), wings (tr), 
and a substructure (c), terms for which the explanations have already 
been given. The foundation (B) is formed of a varying number of 
horizontal rows, in herringbone fashion, according to the size re- 
quired, the upper angle of the diamond limiting the ujDper edge of 
the finished article. The two lowermost strands (<?, /) play an 





















•^ £ r o 






important part, as will subsequently be shown, in the stability of 
the fan. The next process is the manufacture of the gables (C), a 
start being made at the upper angle of the foundation and "break- 
ing" one strand after another, each being started on its journey by 
passing under two. This goes on until the lowermost strands of the 
diamond {c, f) are reached, the latter being left free and projecting. 
The wings are now formed by similar procedure (D), the second 
wing in the course of manufacture completing the triangular sub- 
structure (c). The base level to which the wings are built depends 
upon the caprice of the maker. The two projecting strands, which 
might almost be regarded as diagonals, are next bent back on to and 
along themselves in and between the strands through which they 
have already passed; they thus serve to tighten up the plaits and 
act as stays. Indeed, it is with the same object that the last strand 
(/>■) to be "broken" at the lower corner of the edge of the wing is 
dealt with in similar fashion. There are two methods adopted in 
"finishing off" — i. e., in preventing the fraying of the lower edge. 
The first and easier (E) is to take up on each face one strand at a 
time, and then, after "breaking," to pass it under its two immediate 
neighbors and cut it. These cut ends are next covered with the two 
halves of a split wooden pencil, which are laid along the lower edges 
of each side and tightly sewn on to it in three places with waxed 
kuraua fiber. The second method (F) is to insert one extremity of 
a long strip of mamuri (m) into the lower portion of the body of 
the fan and, as it emerges below, to coil it over and around a bundle 
of some three or four strands in front and behind This process of 
overcasting is continued around the lower edge on both sides of the 
article by taking up a new strand with every turn of the coil and 
cutting off the extreme ends of the projecting strands when the 
bundle composing them appears to be getting too thick and un- 
wieldy. These variations are photographed in figure 91 A and B, 
respectively. C is also a Carib fan, made for trade purposes, but its 
identity of pattern is hidden by the staining of some of the strands 
("\^rEE, iv). It is true that in the Pomeroon and Moruca Eiver 
areas the Warrau make fans identical with those of the Carib, from 
whom they have probably learned the art. Similar ones are also 
manufactured by Arekuna, Patamona. Oyana (GOE, pi. viit, fig. ,5), 
and other tribes. 

376. The manufacture of the Akawai fan (WER, iv).— The Aka- 
wai fan (fig. 91 D) is of a square shape, designed, so far as the 
Pomeroon district is concerned, of a uniform pattern of a series of 
concentric squares, but manufactured on a different principle to all 
the others in that a commencement is made at the left lower corner, 
60160"— 24 20+ 


whence the article is gradually built up, strand by strand. The ma- 
terial used is the same split itiriti, not usually dyed. The edges of 
the fan may be described as upper, lower, left, and right. Starting 
with a center strand (pi. 81, fig. 2 A, a), which will ultimately con- 
stitute one of the diagonals of the square, this is laid on the flat, and 
two others (^, e) ," broken " at their middle, are placed behind it, one 
of them a strand's breadth ahead of the other. A third (d) is now 
added (B) at right angles to the diagonal, and then (C) a fourth 
(e) over which the third is " broken." A fifth and sixth is next put 
in, and so on, as is required for the pattern (D) , the preceding strand 
being always broken over the last one inserted. The process is thus 
repeated over and over again (E) according to the size of article 
to be manufactured, until the second diagonal (K) is put in place, 
this strand, like the first diagonal, being left free at the ends. The 
three or four immediately jireceding strands (?, m, n, o), which have 
already been broken along the lower and the left edges, are now 
again similarly treated to form the upper and right edges on pass- 
ing beyond the second diagonal. A peculiarity in the an-angement 
of these three or four strands is that their extremities are plaited 
in and between identical projecting strands, so as to lie in close op- 
position one behind the other. The object of this is to tighten up 
and fix the portion already manufactured, and hence to act as a stay. 
Furthermore, by looking out for this thickened portion of the fan, 
one can alwaj's tell at which corner the plaiting has been commenced. 
Beyond these three or four strands, thus doubled and tucked in )ipon 
themselves, yet another variation in the plaiting is adopted (F), 
which may be described as follows : Each strand is cut short, alter- 
nately and successively, at a spot limited by the right (y, x) and 
upper {r, t) edge of the fan, respectively. The longer extremity 
(R, T, V, X) is then broken over its shorter-cut end, whence, pass- 
ing along and covering it according to the design of the pattern, it 
is pushed under a set of three strands and cut close (w, y, 3). The 
projecting ends of the two diagonals are finally tucked back on to 
and along themselves, and thus act as stays, like the three or four 
central ones mentioned above. Similarly constructed fans are met 
among the Patamona and Arekuna, by whom the larger varieties are 
used as mats (sec. 395). 

377. Drinking trough. — A very common article of household fur- 
niture is the " paiwarri " trough, often of a size sufficient to hold 
several dozen gallons of drink. Though sometimes replaced by a 
discarded corial, it is usually manufactured from a tree trunk on 
identical lines, carved and painted (ScG, 245), even with numerous 
figures (SR, 11, 221). Whatever the shape (fig. 92), the ends are 
very commonly specialized into handles, to allow of its removal from 


one portion of the premises to another. On the Hibibia Creek. Deni- 
erara River, a trough was to be seen formed out of a section of 
tree trunk, with the rough representation of an alligator's head and 
tail carved at the resjjective ends. From Waterton's statement 
that in each hamlet there is a large tree hollowed out like a trough 
(W, 222), it is possible that occasionally the one paiwarri trough 
may have been common to tlie settlement. The Arawak name for 
the vessel is atau-ekke. The Warrau call it dau-au-nia, after the 
timber out of which it is cut. 

378. Stirring paddle. — For stirring up the brew in the course of 
manufacture of their native drinks, use is made of a spatulate, or 
often paddle-shaped thin stick, from 1 to 2i feet long, often artisti- 
cally carved and decorated. In addition to the ordinary spatulate 
form on the upper Eio ?^egro (KG, ii. 209). an exceptional spoon- 


Fig, 92. — Examples at drinking troughs. A, Warrau ; B, Akawai. 

shaped article with liandlike carved handle has been described (KG, 
I, 111). Similarly, Crevaux figures a "simoon" made from the 
occiput of a couata monkey, fixed with thread to a wooden handle, 
from the Apalai of the Parou River, Cayenne (Cr, 302). 

379. Brooms. — The manicol produces neither flowers nor nuts, but 
a spathe which arises near the top and divides into 20 or 30 uneven 
wooden cords or fibers. These are here called brooms, for which 
they are used (BA, 64). This is still the case, the women employing 
them for sweeping the earthen floors. An ite leaf, plaited into shape, 
often takes the place of a dust shovel in connection with this form 
of broom. 

380. The pestle and mortar employed for pounding maize, plan- 
tain, and various fruits, and for breaking certain of the hard-shelled 
edible nuts, appears in three forms. In all the Arekuna, Makusi. 
Patamona, and Wapishana houses is to be seen a mortar in the 
shape of a hardwood bole, between 2 and 3 feet long, jammed 



[ETH. ANN. i 

perpendicularly into the ground, but projecting a couple of inches 
or so above it (fig. 93 A). Sunk into the center of the exposed 
surface is a circular pit, made by fire and scraping, of a diameter 
of about 3 to 5 inches and a depth of 15 or 16 inches, with the bot- 
tom flat. The pounder in these districts is a heavy hardwood pole 
from 8 to 10 feet long, with a tapering truncated extremity (B). 
It is not used as a stamper, but rather as a grinder with a to-and-fro, 
hardly oval, but rather more or less triangular movement, crushing 
the corn up against the pit side during the course of its manipula- 
tion. If the occupants leave the house for a few days they will 
either cover the pit or fill it with clean " mud," to prevent bees, 





Fig. 93.- 

-Pestles aud mortars (wood and bark). 

wasps, or other insects from nesting in it. Similar apparatus has 
been reported from the Demerara (Da, 232) and from the upper 
Rio Negro (KG, i, 179). A larger variety of mortar, with a de- 
pressed upper surface, the whole not being so deeply sunk into the 
ground, would seem to be met with among the Makusi (pi. 76). 
Though the arrangement above described is occasionally to be 
seen, on the ujDiaer Pomeroon among the Carib and Akawai, the more 
common model among the Arawak throughout the Pomeroon and 
Moruca district is a squared piece of hardwood of about the same 
size, with a plainly cut handle, either in the shape of a ring or pro- 
jection, carved out of one extremity, but having a semiglobular 
excavation cut out of one of the sides (fig. 93 C). The pestle is a long 
double-headed cylinder of hardwood, tapering gradually from each 



extremity, whei'e it is about 3 inches in diameter, toward the center 
(D) ; or it may be single-headed, tapering gradually down toward 
the handle end. In either case the head is in no sense abruptly 

381. The Taruma, Waiwai, etc., have a more or less temporary 
sort of mortar, princijDally for pulping up fruit, made of two lengths 
of bark folded one upon the other, with carefully trimmed edges, 
so that when bound above and below with bark strips very little fluid 
will pass through the interstices (fig. 93, E, F). The outer side of 
the bark forms the outside of the mortar. When about to be bent 
over the line is nicked on the bark, the cambium being left intact. 

The base of the article is about 4 inches square. The ^ 

pestle is a piece of wood about a foot longer than the 
moi'tar (JO). 

383. There is reason to believe that stone pestled and 
mortars employed for both pounding and grinding (pi. 
82, A, B, C) have been used up to very recent times for 
maize and cacao (Cr, 358-359). 

383. Sugar mill. — In Brett's day some of the Indian 
" places " had a rude apparatus for extracting the juice 
of the sugar cane, a sort of mill with small rollers being 
used by the more advanced. Another kind of mill 
which Brett saw used by the Carib was very primitive. 
It consisted of a thick post, the upper part of which 
was carved into a rude resemblance of a human bust. 
The cane was placed on the part answering to the collar 
bone, and crushed there by a long lever or staff inserted 
in a hole through the neck and worked by hand, the 
sweet juice flowing down the breast into a vessel placed 
to receive it (Br. 31). One of these, up to 1910, was to 
be seen employed on the upper Manawarin, a branch of the Moruca 
Kiver; but the principle, though without its human counterfeit, is 
still adopted in all the present-day mills of the Arawak, Carib, and 
Warrau throughout the Pomeroon district (fig. 94), where fermented 
cane juice is a favorite drink. To better extract the juice, the cane, 
during the pressure exerted by the lever, is twisted in opposite direc- 
tions by the assistants at each extremity (pi. 82 I). Coudreau also 
met with these mills among such distant tribes as the Atorai and 
Wapishana (Cou, ii, 307). 

384. Gourds as water vessels (pi. 83, A, C). — Some two and a 
half centuries ago Eochefort described certain objects made by 
the Carib islanders from the calabash (e. g., dishes, spoons, basins, 
plates, cups, drinking vessels), which were polished and painted 
as delicately as possible. They were known collectively as cois 
or couis, a name which the authority just quoted mentions as 

Fio. 04. — Sketch 
of snigar mill 
without the 


being identical with that applied bj' the Brazilians [cf. colhei\ the 
Portuguese word] to their own articles made of similar material 
(RO, 491). They were also called coiiyes in Cayenne (PBA. 139). 
On the lower Amazon Bates speaks of the cuyas. or drinking cups, 
made from gourds, as being sometimes tastefully painted, and then 
describes how the rich black ground color is produced by a dye 
made from the bark of a tree called comateii. the gummy nature of 
which imparts a fine polish. The yellow tints are made with the 
Tabatinga clay; the red with the seeds of the nrucu or anatto 
plant; and the blue with indigo, which is planted around the huts. 
The art is indigenous with the Amazonian Indians, but it is only 
the settled agricultural tribes belonging to the Tupi stock who 
practice it (HWB, 11-i). On the upper Eio Xegro the cups are 
polislied brown on the outside and lacquered black on the inside; 
while the edge or the whole exterior is ornamented with incised 
patterns. The lacquering is done in a curious way. The calabash, 
after being well smoothed on the inner surface and washed with a 
decoction of carayuru (Bignonia) leaves is turned upside down over 
some cassava leaves sprinkled with human urine, where it re- 
mains until such time as the inside becomes black and shiny (KG, 
II, 23'2). In Demerara grotesque figures were often carved or painted 
on the calabashes by the Indians (pi. 83 A). Dance makes mention 
of an Indian woman in Georgetown who drove a lucrative trade in 
this artistic embellishment (Da, 186). From the Arawak on the 
Corentyn St. Clair obtained several shells of calabashes of different 
sizes the outsides of which were stained in lieautiful patterns, gen- 
erally black on a white ground (StC, i, 329). In Surinam the Negroes 
in similar fashion made all kinds of vessels — plates, bottles, por- 
ringers — out of the calabash. Some of them would engi-ave the out- 
sides. filling in the lines with chalk (FE, 194). Joest, in discussing 
the adaptation of natural forms in the pottery of the Surinam In- 
dians, says that in all their (clay) water bottles (prapi) can be rec- 
ognized the original form of the bottle gourd, which during growth 
can be made to assume different shapes by tying with string, etc. 
The calabash split lengthwise furnishes the prototype, the model, 
for dishes and cups (WJ, 87). Barrere also states that these cala- 
bashes can be shaped artificially during growth by squeezing with 
a bush-rope vine tied around them (PBA, 139). There would seem 
to be variations in the method of cleaning out these calabashes. 
With the Warrau, after a hole has been made and part of the inside 
has been scraped out. it is boiled for an hour or so, when the rest of 
the contents is easily removed. AVith the Makusi. when picked off 
the tree and the hole cut, the calabash is roasted a little over the fire, 





A , H, C, Types of stoiio mortars. LeuElh of Tis 47o mm. All three from Skeldoti, 
Corentyn River. (Georgetown Museum. 1 D, E, F, Cone-shape stone pestles. 
E, 170 mm. long, comes from Sandhills. Demerara; D and F were lironght from 
the Potaro. (Georgetown Museum.) G. II, Cone-shape and discoid stone pes- 
tles. G, 21.5 mm., is from Skcldon. Corentyn River; //, .i2 mm. high and % mm. 
across, comes from the Demerara River. (Georgetown Museum.) /, Cane being 
squeezed in the .sugar mill. 


A, Calabash ornameuted with incised patterns. Height, 
420 mm. (GeuFizetown -Mti.-^eiim.) 

B, Carved awarra-sced boxes; that on the left with a stopper. (Georgetown Mn.senm.l 

C, Gourds as water vessels. The height of the larger sjietimen is !">» mm. (Georgetown Museum.) 



-! . t^uill lU'C'Uo case. 

S, Sewn palm-leaf hoxe?. ( Aflor Koch-Griinberg.) 

C. Plaiteii i>alm-li-afboxe<. ( Aflcr Koeh-CrtiulRTf;.) 


-1 , I'alanioiia. 

H, Makiisi. 


dried for a few days, and then soaked in watei* for about a week, 
when the inside is cleaned out with a stick or else gi-avel placed in- 
side and shaken. When the larger kinds of calabash ai'e used as 
water vessels a smaller hole may be made at the side of the larger 
aperture through which it was originally cleaned. A string is passed 
into this smaller one. its inner end knotted and its outer extremity 
tied to the center of a wooden handle. By this means it can be car- 
ried in the hand instead of on the head or in a knapsack. 

385. A segment of baml)oo is a counnon adaptation of a natural 
form for a box or case. Such bamboo boxes may often be used for 
holding paint (e. g., ruku), as on the Cuyuni (CC, .50), Rupununi 
(SR, I, 428), and Pomeroon, even when in a semiliquid condition. 
They may also be utilized for storing fishhooks (CC, 50). and as 
quivers for poisoned arrow tips (SR, i, 428). Wallace speaks of 
couches, or vats, made of hollowed trees on the Uaupes (ARW, 46). 
The hollowed out seeds of certain palms can also be turned into boxes; 
e. g., that of the awarra palm for black paint (GO, 2) in Surinam, and 
for carrying small shot at the present time on the Essequibo and 
Pomeroon (pi. 83 B). That of another palm on the Tiquie, of the 
upper Rio Negro, is used for carayuru paint (KG. i, 249). Small 
gourds can be employed for similar purposes (KG, i, 249, 267, 
290 ; GO, 2) . Another interesting adaptation is the throat box of the 
howler monkey for holding paint, as observed among the Trio and 
Ojana (GO. 2). I have seen a Patamona woman with a needle and 
pin case (pi. 84 A) made from the quill of a large feather from the 
" negrocop " {Myctei'ia) . 

386. Flat, long, narrow boxes used on the Caiary-Uaupes for keep- 
ing the feather decorations and hair ornaments, etc., in, are made in 
the form of lids (pi. 84 B) after the shape followed in the ordinary 
pegall. The material is either palm leaf or tree pith (KG, i, 296). 
In the former case, strips of leaf are sewn together, after the style of 
similar boxes made by the Waiwai. 

387. Boxes of varying sizes, plaited out of palm leaf (pi. 84 C), 
are found on the Aiary River, where they are used for keeping beads 
and other kickshaws in (KG, i, 130). The smaller varieties are 
identical with those to be seen among the Makusi and Wapishana, 
and with the play boxes made on the Moruca by Arawak and Warrau 
boys out of split kokerit leaf strips: these can also be made from 
the young leaves of the curua palm {Attalea speelosa) (BB, 162). 
Caraweru paint (sec. 28) may be packed in them. The construction 
of such kokerit leaf-strip boxes lias been recorded (WER, v). 
Each box consists, pegall fashion, of two deep trays— one for the 
body and one for the cover — the two components being manufac- 



[ETH. ANN. 3S 

tured on similar lines, as follows (fig. 95) : Remove five septa 
(A, B, C, D, E) from the young, unopened leaves, trim their ex- 
tremities, and cut into equal lengths. Take four of these, fold them 


























Fig. 95, — Manufacture of the kokerit leaf-strip box. 

halfway, and interlock to form a square (1) with eight tails (Aa, 
B6, Cc, Ttd). Turn the free end of A up upon itself, then D over 
A, C over D, and B over C, tucking the free extremity of B imder A 
(2). This central square will ultimately constitute the bottom of 


the tray. Take the remaining septum (E), which will finally form 
the side of the tray, and, holding it vertically along its edge, pass A 
from without inward over it, and then under D (3), pulling it (E) as 
taut as possible, and cutting it just as it emerges from underneath 
D (4). Now pass c from within outward over E, and then into the 
space between itself and d. It will emerge behind C when it is 
dragged upon and temporarily left there (5). The free end of D 
is now folded from without inward over E, and then under C, 
dragged upon, and cut where it emerges (6). Then h is similarly 
passed from within outward over E and back again between itself 
and ('. It will emerge behind B, where it is pulled upon and left (7) . 
Fold C from without inward over E, then pass it under B, and cut 
it as it emerges (8). Xow pass a from within outward over E and 
back again between itself and h. It will emerge behind D, where it is 
pulled upon and left (9). Fold B from without inward over E, 
and then under A, cutting it as it emerges (10). Pass d from within 
outward over E and back again between itself and a. It will emerge 
behind C, where it is pulled upon and left (11). E is next finished 
with, in either one of two ways — by being passed over and under 
(12) each successive loop (i. e., over A, under c, over D, under b, 
over C, under a, over B, under d), or by being passed under each 
successive loop (15, 16). The tray is now turned over (13). Start- 
ing with b, this is turned at an angle of 45° and passed from within 
outward under the loop formed by its .strand lying immediately 
below. On emerging it is pulled upon and cut (14). The same thing 
(i e., turning up at half a right angle, etc.) is then carried out with 
a. d, and c, and the central star on the outside of the tray thus com- 
pleted (15). 

388. On the extreme westei-n boundaries of the Guianas, on the 
Tiquie River, use is made of a miniature bark sack for carrying the 
pulverized coca (KG, i, 267) or the lumps of carayuru paint (KG, 
I. 249). The flat rectangular jaguar-skin pouch, with an overlapping 
top, met with here and there (SR, ii, 4) may possibly be of indige- 
nous origin. Cotton-woven rectangular bags (pi. 85 A.B) with cover 
flaps are made for their men by Makusi and Patamona women on 
identical pattern as the chain-stitch foot ring of the Carib, etc. (sec. 
49). On completion, the ring is sewn below to form the lower edge 
of the bag. The so-called leaf -bags (sec. 284) , in which the oulin for 
mixing with tobacco is kept, like the pieces of bark in which the coca 
is preserved (sec. 287), are not really bags in the true sense of the 
term and do not call for further description. [Beyond the Guianas, 
on the Apaporis, the women knit small four-cornered purses for the 
men to carry their bead chains, fire apparatus, and other kickshaws 


in. Tliese are made from astrocaryum fiber on a bent V-shaped 
frame with three needles (KG, ii, 289), but I do not know the process 
of manufacture.] 

389. Clay pots, pans, water jars, etc. — As has been already men- 
tioned, a great deal further research is required before any reliable 
statements can be made as to the materials, pigments, firing, varnish- 
ing, designs, etc., utilized in the potter's art; and the same remark 
holds equally true with the various forms assumed by these clay 
vessels as adopted by the different tribes. Where there has been long 
contact with civilizing influences, the introduction of cheap tinware 
and crockerj- has done much to destroy the native art, even some- 
times to complete amiihilation. 

390. Among the Carib of the upper Pomeroon and Manawarin (a 
branch of the Moruca), people noted for their almost persistent iso- 
lation, I have found the following types : 

(a) The tomaien, or buck pot (pis. 86 B, &; 88 B) of the Creoles, 
also manufactured by Arawak and other tribes, is the only ^'essel em- 
ployed for cooking purposes. It is probably the taumali of the 
Carib Islanders (RO, 491), and is of much the same shape as an 
ordinary cast-iron pot. and of a cai>acity from 3 gallons down to 
perhaps less than a quart. In this is made the celebrated " pepper- 
pot " of Guiana. A cover is made of the same material, but suffi- 
ciently broad to serve as a saucer when its contents are jDut to use. It 
is shaped something like a flattened form of the conventional China- 
man's hat. 

(i) The tokowari, tucuwari (CC. 53), or goblet, with a globular 
body and long neck, narrowing gradually to its head, which bears 
hardly any lip (pi. 86 B, a), is used as a water cooler. Occasionally 
I have seen it with a pointed bottom (pi. 86 B, c). Now and again 
upon the body of the vessel there may be a ring of mammary pro- 
jections. The awkward shajDe of neck, when narrower at its top than 
at the base, tending to cause it to slip out of the hand, certainly 
af)pears to be a disadvantage to the Indian. There is reason, how- 
ever, for this, in that it is an imitation of the similarly shaped bottle 
gourd already mentioned (sec. 384). The resemblance, likewise, is 
still preserved in the stopper (Carib fapu), which is made with a 
curved projection on top (PEN, i, 128), but is gradually being re- 
placed by a flat disk shaped after the style of the top of a ground 
glass stopper of a lady's scent bottle. More than this, half the stop- 
per may still be a disk and the other remain a curved projection. 

(c) The sapera or sapura is a somewhat flattened bowl, with a 
more or less inverted lip, on the two opposite sides of which is a 






■ ^^ " 

w ^\ 



r * M 


\^ / 




^^^ -^ 



J ^_,^ 





^, Pamtcd vessel. Demcrara, (?) Arawak. (Georgetown i[useum.) 

U, C, Domestic potterj' of the Fomeroon District Carib: a, tokowari; b, tomai-en; c, lokowari: if, sapera; e, samako; 
/, parapi. (Baiikfield Museum. Halifax, England.) 



A, Painted day water vessels from the upper Rio Nepni. Arawak tribes. (After Kneh-tjiunher-r. ) 

B, Painted clay howls from upper Rio Negro. Arawak tribes. (After Koch-GriinberK 


A, Clay cooking pots from upper Rio Negro Arawak tribe?. (After Koch-Griinbcrg.) 

/•'. A common form of "buck-iiot." (ricomctown Museum.) 

C, An unusual form of cassiri jar. Height, 400 mm. ((.ieurgeiown Museum.) 


A Pot stand from the Aiary River. (After 

_. , rrT 




/), checker pattern mat with nospeeial edging, (.\fier Koch-Griinberg.) 




small elevation (pi. SG C, d), perhaps the remnant of a handle (pi. 
88 A). For holding food. 

(d) The parapi, prapi, or basin, as compai-ed with the preceding, 
has an everted edge (pi. 86 C, /). 

(e) The samako. or water jar, with handles, bulging cover, and 
neck, has quite a characteristic appearance (pi. 86 C, e). 

(/) The large cassiri jar. with pointed or flat base, well-marked 
neck, and everted lips (pis. 21 A, B; 88 C; fig. 185 B, C). 

391. In marked contrast with these comparatively crude de- 
signs, some beautiful Arawak models of water jai's and bowls have 

Fig. 96. — Twin eartlieu pot. (Bankfleld Musevim, Halifax, England.) 

been figured (pi. 87) from the upper Rio Negro (KG, it, 228). 
Taney work is not wanting. For instance, among the Surinam 
Carib two (fig. 96), three, or four water coolers may be joined to- 
gether. These, however, are not used much, because a cockroach, 
etc., that once gets in can not be so easily removed (PEN, i, 128). 
Furthermore, these same people also make oval-shaped forms, others 
again resembling animals, birds (sec. 96), frogs, etc. 

393. Pot stands, head pads. — On the Aiary River the bowls and 
water jars are placed on stands, somewhat in the shape of an hour- 
glass (pi. 89 A), made of palm strips bound together with "bush 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

rope " (KG, ii, 228). In the Pomeroon district, one end of a staflF is 
split into four and the splits kept open by means of a withe tied in 
a ring on their inside (fig. 97) ; the other end is stuck vertically into 
the ground. The Arawak call it doada-boraddo on the Moruca, where 
I have seen it used for holding the buck pot after taking it off from the 
fire. In the catalogue of British Guiana contributions to the London 
International Exhibition of 1862 mention is made of two stands for 
pots used by the Indians and made from the seed capsules of the 
kokerit palm from the Berbice Eiver (CO. 47). 

Head pads for carrying jars, impedimenta, etc.. on the liead are 
made of strips torn from the bark of the black mahu (emose of the 
Carib) something like the kakaralli. The strips are rolled into a cir- 
cle and then bound round and round in the shape of a 
quoit. Black mahu straps are also used for knapsack 
sti-aps (sec. 450). 

393. Certain of the closework basketry mats, while 
possessing points of .similarity, can always be dis- 
tinguished from rectangular trays by the manner of 
attachment of their bordering or edging. With the 
former, this edging, if i^i'csent at all, lies in the same 
plane as the body or foundation, whereas with tlie 
latter it is specialized into a more or less vertical, dis- 
tinctly raised rim. On the other hand, so far as their 
ai^plication to domestic use is concerned, there is little 
differentiation between them and the simpler forms of 
trays. For instance, the edging of such a tray may 
be so flexible as to allow of the whole article being 
laid flat, whereas the sides of a mat may be sufficiently 
strong and firm to allow of its being supported by them 
like a tray. Again, the foundation for the majority 
of mats and trays is a rectangular plaitwork of the 
ordinary one-over-and-under-three tyj^e; but with the 
Akawai and Patamona it is of the one-over-and-under-two style; 
on the Aiary River it may be the one-over-and-under-one laattern. 
The patterns represented in the first kind of foundation are many 
and various; e. g., the diamond snake or dog's eyes, the scissor-tail 
hawk (pi. 91 B), the Greek key and its variations, concentrics, and 
othez'S all find room here, and in some cases Avould seem to be more 
or less special to particular tribes. Ant and wasp biting mats will be 
found discussed elsewhere (sec. 739). The large 5-foot squai-e floor 
mats of Surinam, plaited with long, sometimes colored, strips of 
warimbo, are no longer made (PEN, i, 126). 

394. Whereas objects designed originally for other purposes— e. g., 
shoulder-basket covers, many kinds of fan, the simpler forms of 
tray — may be applied to tlie puiposes of a mat, true closework 

Fig. 97. — Pot 
stand from 
the Moruca 


plaited mats allow of a classification into more or less well-defined 

(a) No special edging distinct from the foundation (sec. 395). 

(&) A special edging on two opposite sides only (sec. 396). 

(c) A special edging around the whole circumference (sec. 397). 

(d) Roll-up mats (sec. 398). 

(e) Mat satchels (sec. 399). 

395. In the first there is no special edging distinct from the founda- 
tion. The plait may be of the somewhat rare one-over-and-under-one 
type (pi. 89 B), as in the square mats used on the Aiary River for 
covering pots, etc. (KG, ii, 224), and in such a case is a checker 
pattern. Where, however, as is far more usually the case, the plait 
is of the one-over-and-under-three type (pi. 90 A), the resulting 
pattern is one of concentrics. grilles, either separate or combined, 
dog's eyes, Greek keys, etc. [I am taking, no account here of the 
one-over-and-under-two plaited knapsack covers, which are only 

Fig. 98. — Diagram showing tlie mauufaeture of mat in plate 90 B. 

used as mats secondarily.] Their mode of construction will depend 
upon the shape, whether a parallelogram or a square. In the former 
case this is identical with what I have already described for the 
Pomeroon Carib fan with the split-pencil handle (sec. 37.5). In- 
deed, it is almost a question whether this fan is not in reality a 
specialized mat. So, again, with the latter, this is identical with 
that of tlie Akawai fan (sec. 376). the same object for which all the 
smaller true mats may be employed. Made from itiriti by Akawai, 
Carib, Patamona, Arekuna, Warrau. 

396. In the second group will fall all those mats with a special 
edging only on two o^^posite sides (pi. 90 B). This is composed of 
two conical bundles, placed end to end, formed by the extremities 
of the two sets of plait strands, each bundle not only progressively 
increasing in bulk with every plait strand added, but actually being 
looped up with it during the process. This arrangement can be 
observed in the Astrocaryum mats of the Wapishana (fig. 98). In 
the smaller itiriti plaited mats of the Makusi (pi. 91 A) the bundles, 


instead of being wrajjped round with the strands are tied up with 
kuraua fiber. Besides their use as mats for food, they are often em- 
ployed as covers for paiwarri jars. The Malaisi call them siimba. 

397. A third group comprises all those mats having a railed edging 
running around the entire circumference. The contained rail or rails 
is the primitive weft. With the Carib, on completion of the founda- 
tion, the process of manufacture proceeds thus: Taking up two of 
the projecting strands at a time (pi. 93 A), these are wound twice 
over a rail (/■), and then 2"'assed across themselves to be plaited, 
resiDectively, under and over the two immediately preceding ver- 
tical pairs of strands, to be finally tucked under the extremities of 
the pair next emerging from under the rail. This rail is a single 
length of mamuri vine rope, running around the whole margin of 
the foundation, the intervening distance being always considerable. 
It may be noted that alone in these Carib mats the itiriti strands 
are usually irregular, and not split according to what I have de- 
scribed as the orthodox method (sec. 101). The result is that while 
the plait of the foundation is of the usual one-over-and-under-three 
type, the strands themselves come to be, comparatively speaking, 
widely apart. The Makusi type of itiriti mat (pi. 92 A) is practi- 
cally identical with the preceding, save in that having the strands 
jiroperly sliced and cut (pi. 93 B). the resulting plait and edging 
becomes more compact and much neater. Vei-y often such mats may 
be converted into trays (pi. 92 B) by turning up the edges more or 
less forcibly and fixing them in their new position with cane, vine 
strips, and kamwarri fiber. In the Wapisliana mats (pi. 91 B) there 
is an edging of two rails (weft) upon which the projecting strands 
are attached according to a method depicted in the diagram (pi. 
93 C). 

398. The " roll-up " mats of the Patamona and Makusi (pi. 94 A) 
are formed of numerous strips of the midrib of the kokerit palm, 
bound in close apposition parallelwise by means of three or four 
double cords passing in and out between — i. e.. a sort of " chain- 
twist " or twined pattern (fig. 41 A). They are used as food mats, 
for cassava or fish, but would seem to be getting scarce now. On the 
Caiary-Uaupes such roll-up mats, made of cane strips, may reach a 
length close upon 9 feet, and are employed as covers for the paiwarri 
or drinking troughs (KG, n, 224). The cylindrical and purse-shaped 
pepper roasters of the Aiary, likewise made of a series of i^arallel 
cane strips, similarly fixed together (KG, ii, 222), might also be in- 
cluded here. So also should the roll-up ant frame (sec. 162) and the 
" Venetian blind " fish fence (sec. 203) be mentioned in this connec- 

399. Room must be found here for the flattened sewn-up mat 
satchel (pi. 94 C) of the Taurepang (Arekuna). Looked at from be- 



'^' SfcS'"- '- ' ' '-^t— '■^' c-.^-^ 

• ' '"■ V iVi-'-'''-''-'^^'" 

.1 . .\rat with no special edging. Ankuii; 

B, Mat witli special edging on two opposite sides. Wapishana. ( For diagram sec fig. 98.) 



A, Mat with special edging on two opposite sides. Makusi. 

B, Mat, with special edging all around circumference; Wapishana. The pattern of plait is named 
after the scissor-tail hawk. (For diasram of the edging see pi. 93, C.) 




A . IVTakn-^i mat. (For dia^zram of the cdeins see pi. 03. /■; 

B, -Makiisi mat cojiverted into a tray by means of a cane edging. (For diagram see 

p!. 93, B.) 






RaUed edging on mats: A , Carib: B, Makusi; C. Wapishana. B is of similar but finer construction 

than A , and has been converted into a trav. 




low, the base is certainly oval ; indeed, so pointed sometimes along the 
longer axis as almost to be lenticular. On the other hand, the base 
has no relation whatever 
with the foundation of 
the basket, which, made 
like the close work Aka- 
wai mat, is commenced 
at one of the corners. 
This mat is finally 
folded at its center and 
sewn at the ends (fig. 
99). The real contour 
of the base and lower 
edge of the basket will 
therefore depend upon 
the exact shape into 
which the original mat 
is plaited from a rectan- 
gular parallelogram to an irregular hexagon. Such variations in 
shape, it is to be remembered, are due to difference of technique — ■ 

FIG. 99. — .Scwn-up satchel made from a closework mat. 

Fig. 100. — Diagram sbuwiu;; manufacture of mat satchel in plate 94 B. 

e. g., closeness of texture, variations in strand width — and not to the 
addition or elimination of any of the constituents. 

400. But, instead of the mat being sewn up, the front and back 
may be plaited up along the sides, without apparently any break in 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

the continuity. An example of such a jDlaited-ui) itiriti mat satchel, 
probably of Makusi origin, is to be seen in the Georgetown Museum 
(pi. 94 B). Once the original square twilled mat (fig. 100) has 
been constructed, with its ends left free, it is folded along a diag- 

FiG. 101. — The original diagonally locked oppn-cheelser mat /rom which the Carib mat 

.satchel is made. 

onal (cb), which ultimately forms the lower edge or base of the bag, 
while the protruding strands are plaited together from below up in 
such a manner as to follow and complete the original pattern. Other 
examples are to be noted in the open clieckerwork mat satchel of the 

Pig. 102. The subsequent plaiting up of one of the sides of the preceding. 

Barima and Barama River Carib, where the original mat is locked by 
two diagonal strands (fig. 101) previous to the plaiting-up of the 
sides (fig. 102). These baskets are made of .split mamuri. 

401. Bark mats. — The Taruma are said to employ mats made of 
hammered bark (JO). 


402. For descriptive purposes I am proposing the following classi- 
fication of the multifarious articles known as trays : 

A. Rectangular: 

(a) With straight vertical rims, edgings, or laminse plaited (i) 
independently of any rail or weft (sec. 403) ; (ii) after being 
wound over a supporting rod (weft) or rail (sec. 404) ; (iii) 
inclosing a series of rails (wefts) (sec. 405). 

(&) With concave outward sloping rims (sec. 406). 

(e) Hanging trays (sec. 407). 

B. Circular: 

(a) Edging formed of (i) its own strands specially twisted and 
plaited (sec. 408) ; (ii) a capped lining (sec. 409) ; (iii) 
a series of rails (sec. 410). 

(h) Hanging trays (sec. 411). 

403. Eectangular trays with straight vertical rims are all plaited 
in closework. and are mainly employed for collecting the cassava 
flour after passing through the sifter; but, of course, they can be and 
are put to other uses. As already mentioned (sec. 393), the plait for 
the foundation is ordinarily the one-over-and-under-three (twilled) 
type (sec. 108). but with the Akawai and Patamona it may be seen 
worked on a one-over-and-under-two model (pi. 97 X, B). Once the 
foundation is completed, the procedure is continued along one or 
other of the following lines: In the first series (pi. 96 A), the pro- 
jecting strands (itiriti) are plaited in such a manner as to form a 
vertical laminated edging — i. e., at right angles to the foundation 
and of equal depth above and below (fig. 103 A). The upper and 
lower borders of this edging may be subsequently strengthened with 
cane strip and vine (pi. 96 B; fig. 103 B). Wapishana, Makusi. 

404. The second series will contain the Akawai fonns (fig. 103 C), 
where the jarojecting strands form a similar laminated edging after 
being wound over and under a supporting rail (or weft). Taking 
two projecting strands at a time, these are together rolled once over 
the rail (r) and emerge from beneath it. They are next "broken" 
(i. e., sharply bent upward) and passed, respectively, over and under 
the two next emergent pairs, to be finally bent downward and plaited, 
respectively, under, over, and again under the next three pairs, be- 
hind the last one of which they are cut. The outcome of this tech- 
nique is that the two margins of the strands, where broken, form two 
sharp ridges, which, in practice, are drawn veiy close together. 

405. In a third series may be placed trays where the edging is 
composed of a series of rails (wefts) plaited together, by means of 
the projecting strands, to form the vertical lamina (pi. 97 A). As 

60160°— 24— 21 



[ETH. ANX. 38 

the depth of this lamina is dependent upon the number of contained 
rails, it may or may not be of equal extent above and below the level 
of the base or foundation surface. From 4 to 10 rails are utilized 
in the construction of these edgings. In Wapishana (itiriti) speci- 
mens I have seen some with 2 above and below, as well as others with 

Fig. 103. — Rectangular tray — straight vertical rim, etc. A, B, Wapishana ; C, Akawai. 

3 above and 1 below (fig. 104). In the Patamona (Astrocaryum) ar- 
ticles 3 above and below; in the Arawak, Warrau, Carib, Akawai, 
etc. (itiriti), trays from 3 to 5 above and below. The manufacture 
of a typical Arawak tray, say, with 6 rails (wefts) might be de- 
scribed thus: Taking up two at a time (fig. 105 A, 0-6, cd, ef) of the 
strands projecting from the foundation, these are together passed 



. ,-- 






































--'" \ 
























A. Roll-up mat formed of sirips from Ihe miilrili of the kokerit palm. Patamona. B, Plaited- 

up mat satchel. Probably Makusi. C, D, Sewed-up mat satchels. Taurepang. 



A, Palamona; B, Akawai. One-over-and-undcr-lwo (diocker) type of mesh. (StiadtHl uiity fof 

descriptive iJiuposes.) 


.1 . Wapishana tray. {For diatiram soc lig. H):\ .1 

B, Wapijshana iray strengthened wilh cane strip and vine. (For diagram see fig. lOy, B.) 



.! . Akawai tray with a 3-rail (weft) edging 

ii", Truy wiih a rail edging, Vwvd un legs to funu u iiiiiiialiire LalUe. 




upward over, under, and again over the upper rails {h, i, /.) re- 
spectively, whence they are plaited in the reverse direction to the spot 

Fig. 104. — Rectangular tray, cdg-iiiff with three rails above lA). and one rail below (B). 

under the first rail (k) to the right of whence they started. This 
process is repeated all the way round the square, and when the upper 
half of the lamina is thus t, /i f 

completed, a similar pro- " "' ' ' 
cedure is put into execution 
to constitute what will ulti- 
mately become the lower half 
(D). The result is that the 
free ends of the projecting 
strands come to lie exactly 
over their own points of ori- 
gin (from the foundation 
edge) just above which they 
are cut. This arrangement 
will perhaps be made clearer 
in the diagrammatic vertical 
section (A, g). The upper 
and lower margins of the 
edging are next strengthened 
by two (B), sometimes three 
(C), slips of split cane fixed in various ways with strips of mamuri, 
while in the larger traj'S the corners may be further supported by ties 


105. — Kectangular tray- 
and below. 

three rails above 



[ETH. ANN. 3S 

fixed across the inside. And, lastly, it sometimes happens that 
one sees legs (l) attached (E) at the corners to help form a sort of 

miniatui'e table (pi. 97 B; fig. 
106), which is very probably 
of the kind reported in use 
among the islanders (sec. 332) . 
406. Eectangular trays with 
concave outward sloping rims 
or edgings (fig. 107 A), all 
supported with a spiral weft, 
might almost be regarded in 
the light of shallow baskets. 
In the accompanying illustra- 
tions dealing with their details 
only a portion of the corner of 
each tray or basket is shown. 
I have only observed them among the Pomeroon Carib. In the first 
series (B) the foundation is a closework wicker-plait (fig. 37 F). 
The projecting strands (warps) with the introduction of the con- 


106. — Miniature table made from rectan- 
gular tray. 

ur u^ 14/ Tat 

"^^^^M^ - 

B ^ 

Fig. 107. — Reetangulax- trays witli concave outward sloping rims. All Carib. 

tinuous (spiral) weft {w) forms the common openwork hexagonal 
pattern. In another group (C) the foundation is built on the Akawai . 
twilled type of plait (fig. 38 B), but the construction of the rims or 
sides is similar. Yet another category (D) will include those with an 




openwork hexagonal-pattern foundation with each interspace re- 
stricted by a single interpolated strand. In this case an interpolated 
weft strand (iw) also limits the interspaces in the sides. All made of 

407. Eectangular hanging trays would seem to be of about the 
most primitive type of plaitwork met with, and, like the preced- 
ing, it is a question whether they should not be regarded as baskets. 
The foundation is made of a right-angled plait of the one-over-and- 
under (checker) type (sec. 106), having each strand at about its 
own width apart from its parallel neighbor. Upon completion of 
this base, which is more or less square, the projecting ends of the 
strands along each of the four sides are collected into three portions 
and worked into a triple plait 
(fig. 108), these four plaits be- "^ 
ing ultimately bent up and 
knotted together on top, very 
much in the same style as a 
laimdry woman would tie the 
corners of a square sheet over a 
bundle of washing. Made of 
itiriti. For use, it is suspended 
from a beam by a thread tied to 
the upper knotted portion. 

408. Circular tray s. — All 
closework circular trays are 
more or less concave, and are in- 
variably made from a square 
foundation plaited on the flat. 
The following describes their construction as observed among the 
Warrau (pi. 98 A) : Starting with two pairs of (itiriti) strands 
placed at right angles, a square foundation of from 18 to 22 
inches in width, exclusive of the free ends of the strands pro- 
jecting to a distance of another 8 or 10 inches, is finally com- 
pleted, a common pattern depicted being a series of concentric 
squares (fig. 109 A) having their diagonals at right angles to 
the sides of the mat. The plait consists of one strand being passed 
alternately over and under three (twilled). The two commenc- 
ing strands, where they reach the sides, may be finally tucked 
back and upon themselves, for strengthening purposes only. 
Certain of the strands, to intensify the pattern, may be stained 
black, even when the article is intended for domestic use, i. e., not 
for sale or barter. Two thin wooden hoops {a, b) are next prepared, 

Fig. lOS.- 

-Diagram ot rectangulai- lianging 



[ETH. ANN. 3S 

having a diameter somewhat less than the width of the mat, which, 
after being placed between the two and carefully " dumped " in the 
center to give the necessarj^ concavity, is then tied onto both of them 
in eight places at equal intervals. This tying, which serves but a 
temporary purpose, is done with a piece of itiriti strand, for which 
a passage is made where required with a deerhorn piercer. Each of 

Fig. 109. — Manufacture of circular tray by Warrau. 

the four corners of the square projecting beyond the hoops is now 
thinned (B) just around the circle by cutting away all the hori- 
zontal strands in one half of each quadrant and all the vertical 
strands in the other half. The next thing is to take an extra long 
piece of mamuri (/) and overcast the whole edge (both of the hoops 
and intervening mat included) at intervals of about five or six 
strands at a time (C), the mamuri being inserted fairly loosely at 




first. Each such set of fiive or six strands is twisted tightly together 
into a bundle {g), which is laid over the next coil of mamuri, but 
under the succeeding one (so as to lie in the furrow between 
the loops), at tlie same time that the overcasting piece of mamuri 

Pia. 110. — Circular trays. AU Warrau patterns. 

strand is tightened up, bit by bit, with the object of fixing and keep- 
ing the twisted bundle in place. Finally (D) a second strand of 
mamuri (A) is passed successively under each coil of the overcast 
portion and over the intermediate twisted bundles of itiriti. The 
reason for making this edging so strong is to guard against the 
pressure of the operator's hand when sifting the ite flour through, 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

because there is no doubt that among the Warrau, in addition to its 
adaptability for carrying purposes, or perhaps even p)rimarily, it 
is used as a sifter. It must be remembered that this particular flour 
from the ite palm is far finer even than the ordinary domestic 
variety of the European household (A\'T2R, v). In appearance these 

Flu. HI. — Circular trays. Warrau and Akawai patterns. 

Circular sifter trays would almost seem identical with the finely 
woven trays figured from the Caiary-Uaupes River (KG, ii, 219). 

409. A similarly shaped, even perhaps comparatively more concave 
tray, but with a different edging, is made by Arawak, Wapishana 
(who call it w6-pa), Warrau, Akawai, Makusi, Arekuna, Taruma, 
etc. ; in fact, it is of veiy wide distribution throughout the Guianas. 



.1, Circular tray. Wanau. 

B, The tarimba mouoohord. \Varraii. 


vl , Frog pattern. Taurepang. 

B, Made' of itiriLi. 


A . rirciilar tmy with railed edging. Made of Astrocaryinn. (For diagram see fig. 113.) 

B, The kau-uri basket of the Arawak. Hexagon type base with a single spiral weft. (For diagram 

see fig. 115.) 


















Itiriti is the material used. Certain sj^ecimens (pis. 99 A, B; 100 A) 
may be employed for collecting the cassava after it has passed the 
sifter or after removal from the matapi ; others may serve to hold 
fruit, cotton freed from seed, and for all other transport purposes. 
The construction of the edging would never allow of their being put 
to use as sifters. This edging (fig. 109 E) is manufactured on the 
same lines as the collar band of the matapi (sec. 348), and after hav- 
ing reached the requisite length, is folded lengthwise and the margin 
of the mat, cut away circularly, laid between its folds : the next proc- 
ess is to plait the free ends of the edging together so as to make a 
continuous ring of it. By finally tying on two hoops {a, b) in the 
manner previously indicated (sec. 408) the edging becomes perma- 
nently fixed. Among the patterns depicted on these circular trays are 


KiG. 112. — Circular tray. EdgiDg supported l)y two rails. WaiJisLaua. 

the diamond snake (fig. 110 A), periwinkle-track (B). monkey-skull 
(D) , the quartering of a cassava cake (fig. Ill B) , etc. 

410. In the Astrocaryum specimens of circular tray made by Wapi- 
shana and Taruma there is great similarity between their edging 
and that of the second group of mats (sec. 396) ; e. g., the two sets 
of i)lait strands not only constitute the bundle (which here encircles 
the whole article) but also assist in looping it up and keeping it in 
place. A difference lies in the introduction, for strengthening pur- 
poses mainly, of two and three rails (wefts), respectively (figs. 112, 

411. Circular hanging trays. — These are formed of circular frames 
hanging by four cords attached at their distal extremities. From its 
fancied I'esemblance to the animal hanging to a branch by its four 
limbs, it is spoken of by the Arawak as the sloth. The frame is 
formed of a pliable withe, across which are stretched lengths of vine- 
rope (titinii) or strips of kakaralli and other bark. In one variety 



[ETH. ANN. : 

of tray the strip is left as a band, from 1 to 1^ inches wide, just 
as it is, torn off the bark and rouglily plaited in and out ; in another 
(pi. 101 B) it is twisted into a cord, passed some six or seven 


Fig. US'. — Circular tray. Edging supported by three rails. Taruma. 

times across the frame, all of which are fixed in position by another 
cord starting from the center, passing in and out excentrically, so 
as to form a figure something like a spider's web. In yet a third 
case (pi. 101 A) there is a central hexagonal pattern. These trays 

serve to keep food and other 
articles out of the reach of 
dogs and ants. 

412. Baskets plaited with 
specially prepared strands, 
as distinguished from adap- 
tations of natural forms 
(sec. 453), may be classified 
by means of their bases, ac- 
cording as their order of 
structure is a hexagon, a 

circle or oval, a cone, or a 

rectangle (sec. 448). 

In the hexagon type speci- 
men there is an openwork 
foundation of one series of 
strands lying diagonally across another set, and plaited together 
by means of a third horizontal (or vertical) set (fig. 114). Though 
the number of strands in each series remains relatively the same, 
the actual number employed will depend upon the size of the basket 
about to be fabricated, and all ultimately constitute the warp. The 
result of this arrangement is a hexagon. The weft is either in 
the form of one single continuous strand, gradually progressing 

Fig. 114. — Hexagon base of the kau-uri basket 




spirally around the circumference of the basket from base to top, or 
else is formed of separate rings, one above the other. 

Some of the kau-uri bas- 
kets (pi. 100 B) of the 
Arawak, etc., are good ex- 
amples of the fonner va- 
riety — those with a spiral 
weft. Kau-uri is the Ara- 
wak generic term for any 
basket worn back of the 
shoulders with strap over 
the head, irrespective of 
the material from which it 
is woven. These are manu- 
factured of split mamuri 
to insure strength, owing 
to the heavy weights of 
cassava that they are in- 
tended to carry. Hence if 
mamuri is not obtainable, as is sometimes the case, and they are made 
of itiriti, they will last but a short time. Once the hexagonal founda- 



115. — Ht-xagon base basket. Single spiral 
weft, and no extra warps. 


Fig. 116. — Hexagon base basket. Single spiral weft, and six extra warps. 

tion has been made, the weft (fig. 115, we), as long a strand as pro- 
curable is introduced, and the convexity of the article foreshadowed 
by temporarily fixing (fig. 116) two small flat sticks (y) cross- 


wise through the periphery. But if the process be continued 
(fig. 115) and the same size of mesh retained in the construc- 
tion of the basket's sides, the resultant shape will be more or 
less a cylinder (sec. 413), with the size of the mouth not very 
much, if at all, larger than the base. The result is a basket, strong 
enough, no doubt, made in orthodox fashion, but owing to its shape 
of not sufficiently ample accommodation. It can be, and is, used by 
the youngsters. On the other hand, increased capacity is essential, 
and to obtain this the mouth must be of much greater size than the 
base. Hence, in building it to the shape necessary for this purpose 
to be effected, the size of the mesh will necessarily increase in direct 

Fig. 117. — Waikarapa basket. Hexagon base: single spiral weft. From below. 

proportion as its manufacture proceeds. To obviate this and to allow 
for expansion, an extra warp (eiva) is now attached at each angle 
of the figure (fig. 116), where the strands commence to cross as the 
sides begin to rise. These six extra ones (no more are inserted 
throughout the whole of the plaiting) are known as the " children " 
(chukutu) or "extra" (asatahu). The same people speak of the 
spiral weft as the akausukutahu or todolebo. The sides are of hexagon 
(sec. 109) mesh. The mouth of the basket, which is much larger 
than the base, is finally comfjleted by weaving strands thrice round 
the projecting warps and terminal portion of the weft. Strips of a 
particular kind of bark passed through the interspaces of the upper 
portion of the article act as a band wljich passes across the forehead 
of the bearer. Though made by men, it is used by women. At times 




I have seen it turned upside down and used as a hencoop. It is this 
kind of basket which is sometimes woven over the larger gourds and 
earthen jars for protective purposes (sec. 449). 

Fig. lis. — Waikarapa basket. Hexagon base; single spiral weft. From side. 

413. Other examples of the spiral-weft variety (figs. 117, 118) 
are the more or less cjdindrical waikarapa baskets of the Makusi, also 
found among the Wapishana, who speak of tliem by the generic term 
of wakarad. The proximal portion of the weft becomes treated as a 

Fig. 119. — Diagram showing tlic base of baskets illustrated in plate 102. 

warp ; no extra warps are inserted, and the walls are likewise of a 
hexagon mesh. They are made of itiriti by men, but used by women 
for holding cotton in the house. Here may occasionally be seen (pi. 
102; fig. 119) the first attempt (in these baskets) at restricting the size 
of the hexagonal interspaces by the subsequent introduction of a con- 


tinuous spiral interpolated strand (an extra weft, ewe), commencing 
at the very center of the foundation. Its purpose is most probably 

414:. In a third example of the spiral-weft variety (fig. 120) the 
base varies from the type in that it is commenced with two strands 
looped into one another, no extra warps are introduced, and the 
walls are of a pentagonal (sec. 110) mesh. As a matter of fact, it is 
an easy method of making the kassoroa variety of crab-quake (sec. 
425) when the quantity of itiriti — the material for its manufacture — 
is limited. Around a single central " eye," formed of two looped 
strands, there is gradually built a hexagonal base, on completion of 

^^ ^- 

FiG. 120. — Hexagon base basket, single spiral weft. Base started with a central "eye" 
formed of two looped strands. 

which the single continuous weft is inserted. With the weft (loe) 
once in place, the walls are built up on a pentagon mesh (p). 

415. Of the hexagon-base baskets with a multiple form of weft 
(i. e., a weft of separate rings) the most conspicuous that is called 
to mind is the farine basket of the Makusi and Wapishana (fig. 121). 
By means of leaves covering in the sides, farine can be carried long 
distances in these baskets without spilling a crumb; but they are 
also utilized for conveying other meal, and especially salt. With 
the mesh comparatively large, the walls are bulged below but nar- 
rowed toward the mouth. Made from itiriti by men. 

In the bottle-shaped baskets (pi. 103 A) of the Makusi and Wapi- 
shana [also known, like the previous series with a spiral weft (sec. 
413), as waikarapa and wakarad, respectively], the basketry of the 




" mouth " or rather " neck " portion becomes changed from an open- 
work to a closework type (fig. 122). Made from itiriti by men for 
the women to keep their cotton in. 

In the Georgetown Museum is a hexagonal base, multiple weft 
basket (pi. 103 B) with a lid made from an extension of a certain 

Fig. 121. — Farine basket. Makusi. Wapishana, etc. A, from side; B, from below. 

number of the warps and supported by the topmost weft, which, 
much longer than the others, now takes on a zigzag course (see fig. 
148). It is made of itiriti and probably of Makusi workmanship. 

Among remaining examples of the hexagon-base baskets with 
multiple wefts are the extraordinarily woven baskets known as tanaba 



[ETH. ANN. c 

and purawatka to Makusi and Wapishana. respectively (pi. 103 C). 
I have met with them also among' the Patamona. They are made 
only by men, but it is not all men who can make them with itiriti 

Fig. 122. — Diagrram of bottle-sliaped basket. (See pi. 103 A.) 

Fig. 123. — Diagram of of basket illustrated in plate 103 C, to show the three series 
of interpolated strands represented black, lined, and crossed to indicate the order in 
which they have been inserted respectively. 

strands. They are worn only by the sterner sex over the shoulder. 
The size of the hexagonal interspaces is restricted by three series of 
interpolated strands lying in between the three series constituting 
their limits (figs. 123-125). These interpolated strands sometimes 















tr _ 

O 2 

Q Ti 

UJ '- 

H l 
< ; 
_J = 

O 2 

0. --J 

DC -5 

LU ^ 

I- i; 
z - 














ti I 







Z 3 £= 
O 1 S 

o Is, 
"J si 

r To a 

.2 -* 













= 3 .a 

^ ^ -a 

3 a s 

s a t^ 




O " 

.2 . f^ 












O g c-.i 








S o S 

■2 a i 

CO p - 

-o £ £ 

2 S '' 

1," .2 « 

S 2 2 

^ O ■£ 


— s ^ 

~ ^ J 

s -I - 

1 2 S 

m C S 

•»! fl! C 



F represents the base uf .4 , B, C, D; G represents the base of E. (After Koch-Griinberg.) 




lie so close together as almost to change the plait from an openwork 
to a close one. 

4-16. Circular or oval base type specimens of basket are built up 
on a foundation which may be either radiate, vertebrate, diaphrag- 
matic, or uniuclosed. Of radiate patterns (pi. 104 A) perhaps the 

Fig. 124. — Tanaba basket, with a slight variation. The two strands ai each angle of 
the hexagon are approximated. 

commonest is that met with among the Arawak, where the warp 
strands, collected and superimposed in pairs, cross one another at 
their centers; the weft, during the passage qf its first spiral, passes 
over or under each pair, but in its second and subsequent spirals 

FlG. 125. — Diagram of basket illustrated in plate 103 C. 

overlaps and underlaps each constituent (fig. 126). [I am very 
suspicious that these baskets are of foreign origin — e. g., either Negro 
or East Indian. There is certainly no special aboriginal Indian 
term applied to express the articles.] Instead of the warp strands 
crossing at their centers in pairs, the Patamona make a basket where 
they arewoveninto a checker (fig.37 E) plait,one pair over and under 
60160°— 24 22 




another (pi. 104 B ; fig. 127). The same folk have yet another basket 
(pi. 104 C; fig. 128) with a foundation of single warp strands 
arranged parallel and in two layers at right angles, maintained in 
their relative positions by tying. Another further development 

\N WER, 

Fig. 120. — Diagram of basket shown in plate 104 A. 

of such an arrangement is to be seen in certain Rio Negro baskets 
(pi. 105 F), where instead of the two layers two bundles are supei-- 

A great deal of further investigation is required concerning these 
radiate pattern circular baskets, of which several variations in the 


127. — Diagram of basket shown in 
plate 104 B. 

Pig. 128. — Diagram of basket shown in 
plates 104 C, 105 G. 

weaving of the sides are to be met with ; e. g., a single weft passing 
over and under each warp (fig. 128) or pair of warp (pi. 104 B). or 
every alternate pair so as to form diagonal rows (pi. 105, A. B, C, 
D) ; or a single or double weft, twined, one of the elements passing 
behind each warp as the weaving progresses (sec. 112). 




417. The second group comprises the very curiously shaped baskets 
(pi. 106) for holding the cotton employed in wrapping around 
the butts of the blowgun poison darts. These are usually worn slung 
onto the quivers and are made of mamuri ; less generally of itiriti. 

Fig. 129. — Diagram of baskets shown in plate 106. 

The foundation consists of a warp somewhat after the style of a 
backbone crossed by ribs (fig. 129), which are either tied u^Don or 
passed under and over it, but in both cases maintained in position 
with the single continuous weft. To get extra convexity for the 
base (i. e., to make it more saddle shaped), the two cornei's may be 
tied across. Made and worn by men — Makusi, Arekuna, etc. Some- 


Fig. 130.- 

-Ciroular base basket, diaphragm foundation, a hexagon (A), 
warps (B) on completion of hexagon. Arawak. 

Insertion of 

what similar flat baskets, but larger, are made by Makusi and 
Wapishana from mamuri, and from a plant like the itiriti but hav- 
ing knots in it. They are plaited by men, but the women use them, 
held under the armpit, to take their food to the field. They are 
called pakaruma by Makusi, and daro-an, or tibid (i. e., mamuri), 
by Wapishana. 


418. The diaphragm foundation of the circular type of base basket 
inaj- be either a hexagon or a loop. The former (fig. 130) is made 
of six strands or warps (wa) , one of them being extra long to form 
the weft (we), all locked together in a hexagon. At each angle 
of the figure is introduced another, an extra, warp or " child," 
as the Arawak call it (eww), which becomes plaited in with the 
weft as it progresses around and around. Such " children " can 
be let in whenever the interspaces of the basket open out too 
much in the process of manufacture; for among the Arawak, who 
make it of mamuri, the mouth is very much larger than the base 
and hence very many of these extra warps are required. The Ma- 
kusi and Patamona make theirs of itiriti. and with a much smaller 
mouth, the completed article being almost the shape of a narrow- 
necked jug, of course minus 
the handle. The Patamona ar- 
ticle is also peculiar in that 
the interstices are still further 
restricted in size by the intro- 
duction of an interpolated, sec- 
ondary, or extra, weft (fig. 131 
ewe) . From the fancied resem- 
blance of the form of founda- 
tion to the view presented by a 
sloth when turning its back to a 
visitor, the Arawak apply to 
this particular variety of kau- 

^ ,„, „ , ^ . ., ^ _,. ^ uri basket (used for carrying 

Pig. 131. — Basket similar to preceding but ^ . , 

with an interpolated or extra weft. Pata- CaSSava) the name of hau-mako, 

°">°«- i. e., sloth anus. 

419. The loop type of diaphragm foundation of circular base bas- 
kets (pi. 107 A) "is made of two strands (fig. 132), of which one is 
tied into a loop (A. a) to form the " eye " of the basket, the other 
(B-E, b) being doubled upon itself. Now, either the extremity of 
the looped strand forms the weft and the two ends of the doubled 
one the warps (B, C. D) or the extremity of the looped strand forms 
a warp and the doubled one a weft and second warp (E, F). Each 
coil of the weft is held in position by two warps running simultane- 
ously ; and alone in these baskets I have seen the weft make a left- 
hand spiral instead of the usual right-hand one. Made of split 
mamuri, it is said to be the original form of the eye-socket basket — 
the basket that " came after," as the interpreter said, which will be 
next described. (I have only seen one old Warrau woman make 
them, but they appear common among the Carib of the Barima and 
Barama Rivers.) 


















CO ^ 

< a 

CD 2 


o b 
















A, Circular base basket, diaphragm [oundalion, loop type. Warraii. (For diagram pee fig. \X2.) 


B, The bakok4 or eye socket oval base basket of the Arawak and Wariau. (For diagram, sec fig. 133.) 




4:20. This is the specialized split-mamuri basket of the Arawak 
known as the bakoke (pi. 107 B). the word signifAing an eye socket, 
to the general contour of which the base of the completed article has 
been likened. The oval foundation (fig. 133 A) is formed of a single 
strand, the weft (ice) looped upon itself to a length adapted for the 
size required, and fixed in position by a warp {wa). the ends of 

Fig. 132. — Diagram of Ijasket shown in plate 107 A. 

which continue to lock the weft as it proceeds round and round in 
the course of manufacture (B. C). As a matter of fact, the two ends 
of the one warp constitute practically two separate warps. Made by 
men and women, but used by the latter for carrying cassava. It is of 
at least two distinct shapes, according as it is manufactured by 
Arawak and Warrau, or bj' Carib. 

421. The uninclosed foundation circular or oval base baskets in- 
clude two series — one in which the warp strands, ruiming parallel 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

with the length of the basket, are plaited in a twined fashion (sec. 
112), and another where the strands are crossed and form pentagons 
(sec. 110). The former will include the basket cages or creels (pi. 
108 A) eniplo_yed in catching fish in the smaller streams (sec. 204). 

I have already described the technical details of the somewhat 
complicated Pomeroon district basket cage (fig. 134) as follows: 

It is made from split mamuri, and consists ( A-D) of a more or less 
cylindrical body (a) and a cone-shaped head (b) made separately, 
but finally joined by inserting the latter into the former and "sew- 
ing " them in position. The manufacture of the body starts (B) with 





Fir,. 133. — Diagram of bakok^ oval-hase basket shown in plate 107 B. 

the tail end {c) by means of a ring (d) on to which the warps are 
fixed. Each warp (e), at least twice the length of cylinder to be 
made, is doubled on itself at its middle, where it is attached to the 
tail ring by looping over and tj'ing, or by t3'ing direct (C). The 
main weft (B, /') is now introduced and made to pass, in the course 
of its spiral progress, alternately over and under every half warp. It 
is kept in position by means of a thinner strip (g) woven alternately 
in front and behind it; i. e., the ordinary wrapped type of plait (sec. 
113). Each half warp throughout its whole length remains either 
under or over the main weft strand. Should the warp interspaces be- 
come too open, a new one can be easily inserted (h). The body is 
finished off either on the main weft itself or else elaborated with a lip 
projecting outward, similar to that sometimes met with on the head. 




The construction of the head is simihir (A), but commencing with 
a comparatively larger ring for the mouth {!), and weaving the 
texture more closely so as to obtain the cone-shaped neck (k). 
Furthermore, the projecting strands are left free so as to interlace 
more or less, and thus constitute a throat (?) through which the fish 
can easily wriggle themselves in to get at the bait beyond, but once 
in can not get out again. Many fish cages are to be seen (D) where 

Fig. 134. — Details of the Pomeroon district flsli creel. 

the head is constructed with a lip (m) projecting inward and out- 
ward so as to form an inner (o) and outer {n) margin to the mouth. 
Such construction (E) commences with the inner margin (o), after 
the manner described (in making the body), until the edge of the 
mouth is reached, when the weft (/, g) is turned back on itself (p), 
to take up in turn every pair of half warps throughout an entire 
circuit (p, q) of the article. These pairs are not, however, taken up 
direct, but only after having been woven over a large mouth ring (r) 



[KTH. ANN. 33 

and passed respectively over and under the two immediately succeed- 
ing pairs. On completion of the circuit the weft passes alternately 

under and over eveiy half warp 
in the usual spiral manner, 
with the result that the inclos- 
ing head comes to be first of all 
constrvicted, then the conical 
neck, and finally the throat 
(WER, iv). 

The biggest cage met with in 
this district is about 3| feet 
long and wide in proportion; 
the smallest that I have come 
across is a little over 2 feet. 
It will be noted that the tech- 
nique of the Pomeroon (Ara- 
wak) article differs from that of 
the Eio Negro in having one 

Fig. 135.— Base of Patamona flsh creel shown in COntinUOUS Spiral Weft,whereaS 

plate 108 A. ^jjg latter is usually, though not 

always (KG, ii, 41), built up on a series of circular ones (pi. 50 B). 
But both on the Pomeroon and elsewhere the creels may be of a 
much simpler type < i 

(sec. 204). 

422. Examples o f 
the second series of 
the uninclosed founda- 
tion circular-base bas- 
kets — those with the 
pentagonal plaited 
walls — are to be seen 
the large cylin- 


d r i c a 1 itiriti-strand 
baskets of the Akawai. 
These are constructed 
with a continuous 
spiral weft and are 
open at both ends (fig. 
136). They are up 
to 2^ feet long, with 
a diameter of about 9 or 10 inches, and when put to use (e. g., trans- 
port of " buck " yams) their extremities are strapped across with 
itiriti or bark strands. 

Fig. 136. — Diagram of cylindrical itliitl-strand basket. 


A, Fish creels: n, double fimiiolcd-. b, ^iugle fimiielcd. I'atQinona. (For diasrain see fiRs. 

l:!l, 13.-..) 

B, Conical base landing net ba.skets. (For diagram sec flg. 137.) 








jir ItF 'iif Jlpi^E^^^^R^Bi^^ K ^Jk/^ 







A. Rectangular open-work hexagooal-raesh flat- base basket. Wapkliaiia. (For diagram sec 

fm. 147.1 

J3. The Kamaiyo close-work eliecker-patteru conioal-ba^e ba.'ket. (For diagram 

fig. 138.) 


Ill ITH ] 



123. The construction of the conical-base landing-net basket (pi. 
108 B) of the Carib, Akawai, Arawak, "Warrau, etc., is somewhat 
peculiar. Starting with six itiriti warps (ca) plaited into a hexa- 
gon (fig. 137 A) a weft {we) is inserted, but its extremities, so soon 
as they cross one another on the lower edge of the basket, become 
additional (extra) warps {ewa). Weft after weft is thus added, the 
utilization of their extremities as warps causing the basket to have 
a longer slope on the lower surface than on the upper. The com- 
pleted pattern is one of hexagons (WEE, iv). The basket itself has 
somewhat the appearance of an old form of nightcap and is attached 
within and alongside of the two limbs of a forked stick that may 
sometimes reach to a length of 6 feet. To the Arawak it is known as 
shipi ; to the Warrau as basso. It is used for catching the fish floating 

Fig. 137. — Diagram showing construction of conicilbase landing-net basket. 

on the water surface after being intoxicated with one or other of the 
various fish poisons. 

424. The kamaiyo basket of the Arawak is similarly the only 
example that I can bring forward of a closework conical-base basket 
(pi. 109 B). It is an article but rarely used now, the few examples 
met with being usually in the possession of the older folk and of the 
medicine men. Employed as a strainer, the Arawak required it in 
the manufacture of black paiwarri (sec. 257), not with other drinks. 
Owing to its conical base, it has no present-day utility as a receptacle 
for storing articles without the suspending string attached to oppo- 
site sides of its upper circular edge. The manufacture of the founda- 
tion is comparatively simple. Operations are commenced by mak- 
ing a square mat (fig. 138 A), the plaiting of which consists in the 
repetition of passing a single horizontal strand (a) over and under a 
set of three vertically arranged ones (&). Oiice the square, which 



[ETH. ANN". 3S 

varies with the depth of basket required, is completed, a special 
strand (s) is passed in similar fashion around two contiguous sides, 
the point of contiguity ultimately forming the conical extremity (c) 
of the finished article. The next procedure is to plait together the 
projecting strands of these contiguous sides in the same way — i. e., 
one under and over three (B) — throughout their whole extent. 
When the farther comers {d, e) are reached the conical foundation 

Fig. 138. — Diagram of closework conical-base baslset shown in plate 109 B. 

{dee) of the basket is completed, its upper circular portion {gh) 
being finally brought into existence by plaiting the strands projecting 
from the lower area just manufactured with the strands projecting 
from the two sides {df^ ef), which were originally left free by the 
special strand (s). The upper circular portion of the basket may be 
extended at discretion and woven into various patterns (WER, v). 

Fig. 139. — Types of rectangular base basltets. 

A cone-shaped basket was used for filtering during the process of 
preparing salt in Cayenne (sec. 250). 

435. Where the base of the basket is a rectangle, this may remain 
flat, or be constructed in such a way as to have two opposite, or all 
four, sides raised ; i. e., the rectangular base may be compared with 
a roof (fig. 139) which is more or less flat (A), gabled (B). or 
hipped (C). For convenience of description only I propose dis- 
cussing these three shapes in the reverse order just given. Hipped 
baskets are all openwork, with hexagonal or pentagonal interspaces, 
the type specimen being the kua-ke of the Arawak (pi. 110 A), made 



Fig. 140. — Rectangular hipped-base basket, spiral 
weft. Commenced with two parallel strands 
crosspd by diagonal ones. (PI. 110 A.) 

by both men and women, and used primarily, I believe, for carry- 
ing crabs (kua). It can also often serve duty as a cage for ani- 
mals and birds while being 

tamed. The Indian term '^~i i 'ii 'i^im l r'i* '«>< 

has given rise to the word 
quake, a Creole word ap- 
plied to other kinds of open- 
work basket indiscriminate- 
ly. Schomburgk called it a 
queck (ScG, 246). Built up 
from the outside, unscraped, 
portions of split itiriti 
stems, the foundation is 
formed by binding a vary- 
ing number of strands diag- 
onally across a pair of 
others placed parallel (fig. 
140), the extremities of all 
forming ultimately individ- 
ual warps. The number so 
employed will depend upon the size of the basket required. Two 
or three warps are plaited around the length and breadth of the 
original pair of strands, and so keep the crossed ones in position. 

The weft is next introduced, 
in the form of a very long 
strand {we) and the plait 
work proceeded with, in a 
pentagon mesh (sec. 110) until 
the limits of what will finally 
be the mouth are reached. 
The latter is finished off by 
weaving other pieces of strand 
twice round the projecting 
warps, which are bent down 
upon one another for the pur- 
pose. A variation in the foun- 
dation can be made by the 

Fig. 141. — Rectangular hipped-base basket. Same people without any par- 
spiral weft. Commenced by looping together ^Uel strands bv looping to- 
the diagonally placed sti'ands in pairs. ,, ,, ,. "^ n , i 

gether the diagonally placed 
ones in pairs, the number of such loops varying from two to six 
or more, according to the size of basket (fig. 141). From the sup- 
posed resemblance of these loops at their junctions to the eyes of a 



[BTH. AMN. 38 

certain fish (kassoroa), found on low-water mud banks (akin to 
that known to English boys as the "jumper" or "four-eyes"), 

this fonn of quake is specialized 
by the Arawak as the kassoroa- 
akushi (i. e., fish eye) ; the latter 
being the figurative term for an 
interspace (WEE, iv). For a 
method of making this form of 
crab (luake when the itiriti is lim- 
ited see section 414. 

426. In the relatively much 
smaller specimens of the Ma- 
kusi for holding knickknacks, 
cotton, etc. (pi. 110 B), the foun- 
dation is somewhat simpler, both 
binding and looping of the ini- 
tial strands being dispensed with 
(figs. 142, 143). These baskets 
also show further variation in the 
retention of a hexagonal mesh 
throughout, in the use of jDrop- 
erly prepared itiriti strands, in 
the formation of a distinct neck, 
the more careful bordering around the mouth, and, maybe, the 
insertion of an interpolated, secondary, or extra weft (fig. 144). 

Fig. 142. — Rectangular hipped-base 
basket, .spiral weft. The proximal 
extremity of the weft acts as a 
warp. (PI. 110 B.I 

Fig. 143. — Base of preceding before introduction of secondary weft. 

427. The only examples of a gabled fonn of rectangular base (pi. 
110 C) come from the Makusi, and, except in the increased number of 
hexagonal interspaces in the firet row, are practically identical with 















































































■ _ 






















- a; O 


A, Basket with rectangular flat base: open work, crossed quadrilateral mesh; multiple 

weft. Makusi. 

7f, Basket with rectangular flat base: close work checker pattern, muUiiile wi-ft. The 
cover is of similar construction. 





the baskets that have just been described. A comparison between the 
diagrams (figs. 14'2. 143, and figs. 145, 146) wiU render this statement 
clear. On the other hand, an interpolated weft does not seem to be 
ever employed here. 

Fig. 144. — Base of preceding after Introduction of secondary weft. 

428. Baskets with a rectangular more or less flat base can be very 
conveniently classified according as the mesh is an open or close work 
one. In the former categoi'y the mesh is of the ordinary hexagon 

B^G. 145. — Diagram of basltet shown' in plate 110 C. 

type (fig. 39 B), as in the Wapishana articles, or of a crossed quadri- 
lateral one (fig. 40 B), as in certain Makusi specimens. The Wapi- 
shana basket, built from strands of the "pimpler" palms (Astro- 



[ETH. ANN'. S 

carywm sp.) on a foundation represented in the diagram (fig. 147), 
may have a lid attached. This lid is but an extension of one of 

Fig. 146. — Base of preceding. 

the longer sides and is supported by the weft, which, upon leaving 
the top of the basket proper, discards its spiral form to assume a zig- 
zag serpentine course (fig. 148). 

Fig. 147. — Diagram of Wapishana basket shown in plate 109 A. 

429. In the crossed quadrilateral type of mesh the square founda- 
tion is formed of vertical and horizontal sets of strands crossed by 
diagonal ones (pi. Ill A; fig. 149), the initial "key" to its manu- 
facture being two strands crossed at right angles and fixed in position 




by two pairs of diagonal ones (sec. 111). The size of the base is lim- 
ited by the first weft, which is here of the annular or multiple type. 

Fig. 148. — Diagram of basket similar to that sliown in plate 109 A, but with a lid. 


E^G. 149. — Diagram: of liaskot shown in plate 111 A. 

Indeed, the three characteristics of this basket are the pattern of 
mesh (distinctive), the multiple weft, and the square foundation. 
The sides are now built up and proportionately raised, as another 



[ETH. ANN. 39 

and another of such wefts is successively brouglit into requisition. 
Made from itiriti, by Makusi, though it would seem to have been 
made formerly by the Arawak. The latter call it keremi, a name 
given to a certain salt-water fish, the scales of which the interspaces 
bear comparison with. The completed article may thus be called by 
them keremi-uda (scale) or keremi-akushi (eye, interspace). 

430. Rectangular flat-base, closework baskets are either of a 
checker (sec. 106), wicker (sec. 107), or twilled (sec. 108) pattern. 
The checker baskets {pi. Ill B) are made from the leaf of the 
cho-wa, a palm somewhat resembling a small kokerit. which I have 
not succeeded in identifying, and are interesting in that, to procure 
increased strength and stability, each strand element consists of 
two or more superimposed strips. Once the base has been completed, 
somewhat after the style of the similarly constructed closework mats 

(sec. 395), the projecting 
ends are turned up and 
maintained in position 
by the multiple wefts, 
which gradually help in 
building up the sides (fig. 
150). The final weft is 
in the form of a thin 
cane strip, around which 
the ends of the warps are 
bent downward and back- 
ward again upon them- 

FlG. 150. — Diagram of cliecker pattern basket shown selveS. The COVer is 

'° ■""*'' "' ^- made on an identical pat- 

tern, but larger, so as to insure a good fit, the two together forming 
what the Creoles call a "pegall " (sec. 433). Makusi, and perhaps 

431. In the group distinguished by the base being plaited in the 
wicker (sec. 107) or " armadillo " style — a name given it by the 
Arawak in fancied resemblance to the markings on the creature's 
shell — the basket is either complete and single in itself, with a smaller 
oval mouth, or made with a rectangular top, the same size as the 
bottom, and in duplicate, one moiety acting as tray, and the other 
(built very slightly larger) as cover, together constituting what 
is known as a pegall (pi. 112). Made of itiriti. Once the base 
of the oval-mouth article (fig. 151) is completed, it is tied to a 
light rectangular framework by overcasting the projecting pairs 
of strands. On the longer sides this presents no difficulties, but 
on the shorter edges care is taken to leave, between each pair of 
strands, a single one, which, looped over the framework to the in- 








^WM/'^' ^-./iy J 










.1 ^• 


.1, Pataniona; B, .Makusi; (', Taurcpaiig. 




side, passes back in its own length, to be finally tucked under the 
penultimate transverse pairs (fig. 152). All the pairs projecting 
from below, around the periphery of the framework, are turned up 
now to help form the sides by passing a weft, one at a time, succes- 
sively, over and under them, the extremities of each weft being tucked 

Fig. 151. — Diagram of single oval-mouth basket with mesh similar to that shown in plate 
112. View of base from outside. 

under one another. The height and shape of the walls, of course, de- 
pend upon the number, nature, length, etc.. of the wefts introduced. 
Manufactured by Makusi and Wapishana. 

432. With the rectangular-top article (pi. 112) there is no frame- 
work to which the foundation is attached, and it should be noted 
that, whereas the projecting strands 
on the longer sides of it are already 
in pairs, those on the shorter mar- 
gins are obtained by taking them 
up in bundles of four (Arawak) 
and cutting short the first and third 
constituent of each (fig. 153 B), or 
in bundles of three (Patamona, 
Makusi) and tucking the middle 
strand between and under the other 
two (A). 

433. Twilled (hourglass pattern) 
baskets (pegalls) have already been 
referred to (sec. 431). They are 
plaited in two similar halves, one 
slightly larger than the other, so that the former when inverted will 
act as cover for the latter. They thus together constitute something 
very much after the style of a lady's dress basket. The name, some- 
times written " pack-all," is the Creole corruption of the Carib term 
pagara or pagala. Now, all pegalls other than those already men- 
tioned as of the armadillo type (sec. 431) are conmnienced with the 

60160°— 24 23 

Fig. 152.- 

Base of preceding, viewed 
from inside. 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

hourjilass pattern, to be immediately described, and continued on the 
twilled type (sec. 108). The proper way is for each half to be made 
of identical pattern, but sometimes the maker will have a lazy fit, and 
make the base of the lower complement wholly on the twilled type, 
somewhat after the style mentioned in section 447, a quick method 
sometimes adopted in the smaller articles made as toys for children 
or curios for tourists. It is interesting to note also that when the 
ordinary hourglass pegall iff double-covered (sec. 115), the inner lining 
is often made after the armadillo style. All hourglass baskets, with 
but one exception (sec. 440), would seem to be made of itiriti. The 
hourglass plait is started with from six to eight strands (though 
I have seen as many as 16) arranged at their centers in such a way 
as to form two triangles (fig. 154 A, «), attached at their apices, to- 


Fig. 153. — Diagram of pegall shown in plate 112. A, Patamona, Makusi ; B, .\rawak. 

gether resembling a figure which may be legitimately likened to the 
old-time sand glass, whence I have named the pattern. This ar- 
rangement with uncolored strands is shown in the sketch (fig. 154 B), 
but where one series of the strands is colored black (or red) but 
half its length (A), the resulting pattern shows colored (C, E) or 
plain (D) hourglasses, with plain or colored backgrounds, respec- 
tively. On the other hand, certain series may be so stained that the 
result depicted is F, a pattern of coloration .specially practiced on 
occasion by Warrau. 

434. In a unicjue specimen met with among the otherwise orthodox 
Patamona pegalls I came across a multiple hourglass pattern ex- 
ample peculiar in that on the upper constituent (fig. 155 A) the cen- 
tral hourglass is plaited in the usual fashion, but the half of eacli 
lateral one is merged into what should constitute the intervening 
vertical bar; on the lower, as usual unstained (B), the intervening 




bar is still further modified. AVhether this arrangement should l)e 
included under the category of freaks (sec. 447), it is now impos- 
sible for me to say. At the time of purchase the peculiarity in 
design seems to liave escaped my notice. 

435. It is to be observed that upon the number of the hourglasses 
will depend the length, as compared with the breadth, of the finished 
article. With a single pattern, the base will be a square (fig. 156 A) ; 
with a multiple one (B, C, D) it will be more or less oblong. When 


Fig. 1."4. — Twilled hourglass pattern pegalls. Apparent variations of pattern due to 
coloration o( the strands. :i, <i. Hourglasses : b, b, concentric rectangular frames. 

once these figures are completed, the free ends of the projecting 
strands are plaited throughout in the ordinary way of one under 
and over three others (twilled pattern), so as to form the founda- 
tion, exhibiting a pattern of concentric rectangular frames (fig. 
156, bb) — the well-known "herringbone" (twill) type of tech- 
nologists — which in the larger pegalls may be broken up and sub- 
divided (B, C. D). The base completed, a start is made with any 
one of its corners (figs. 156 A and 157 A), where the projecting 




Fig. 155. — t'nusual fonu ot hoiuglass pattern, showing upper (.1) and lower (B) con- 
stituents. Patamona. 


m^A — , 

Fig. 156. — Twilled hourglass pattern ba.skets. Jl, Single pattern aud square base; 
B, C, D, multiple pattern and oblong base. 




strands of the two contiguous edges are folded sharply over and 
plaited again in the twilled style, one under and over three, so as lo 
lock one another and to bnild up the sides, which invariably com- 
mence with two or more rows of such herringbone frames. These 
frames {b) are easily distinguisliable in figure 167, which represents 
all the Pomeroon district patterns employed on the sides of the 
pegalls where uncolored strands are always used (WEE, v). 

436. I have collected an exceptional and unique example, where, 
on completion of the foundation, the start for the building up of 
the sides has been commenced, not at one of its corners (fig. 157 A), 
but at the center of one of the sides of the rectangular base (fig. 
157 B). Needless to say. the overlapping of the first row of strands 

Fig. 157 

A B 

-Hourjrlass pattern b.iskets. A, The proper way to Imild the sides: B, 


is not neat, and the interspaces are very evident. It is very probably 
a freak (sec. 447). 

Once the corners have been turned little difficulty is experienced 
in the plaiting of the sides according to the pattern desired (sec. 
443). In order to trim the free edges of the sides when completed, 
the two layers of strands {ah) are tucked plaitwise, respectively, 
outward and inward upon themselves (fig. 158 A, B) and the pro- 
jecting ends cut (c). The double edging thus produced is finally 
covered with two or three (C) split-cane slips and sewn into posi- 
tion much in the same way that the edges of the square trays were 
shown to be protected, but naturally with more delicate workman- 
ship. To render the pegall rain-proof one or both moieties may be 
made in double, with various leaves (sec. 115) carefully arranged in 



[ETH. ANN. 3^ 

437. But to return : Where one hourglass only is plaited, the result- 
ing foundation, to be symmetrical, must be a square, and the com- 
pleted basket derived from it more or less round (i.e., no sharp angles. 
pi. 113 A) , giving rise not only to variations of pattern but also of 

Fig. 158. — Hourglass pattern (twilled) baskets, pegalls, etc. 

*^dg<'S when completed. 

Method of trimming: up the 

technique. Indeed, so profound may some of these variations become 
that we are afforded an opportunity of classifj'ing all hourglass pattern 
basketry into two main divisions, according as the foundation or base 
is single figured or multiple (more than one). The simplest forms of 

baskets belonging to the single 

hourglass pattern series will be 
the ci'lindrical pegalls of the Aka- 
wai, tlie only examples of single 
hourglass baskets made in dupli- 
cate, to act as a sort of pegall. 
Other examples belonging to 
the group are various baskets 
with everted brims of the Taure- 
pang (pi. 113 C), and certain ones 
with mai'kedl}' narrowed brims 
from the Makusi (pi. 113 B). 
These latter are made by men, but 
used bj' women for beads and 
small knicldcnacks. and are carried 
hanging on to the top corner of the shoulder basket. They are called 
kau-aba. All made from itiriti. Of identical construction with this 
single hourglass pattei'n of basket is the itiriti baby rattle of the 
Moruca River Arawak (sec. 620). Here, however, upon comjDletion 
of the sides, instead of tuckinsr the strand ends under themselves and 

Fig. 159. — The Ai-awak bab.v rattle. 





Ht'- ) 




























(For diagram^, sec figs, lril-lli.5.) 




cutting, etc. (fig. 159 A), they are tightly twisted and tied into a 
composite bundle to constitute the handle (B). Of course, previous 
to the twisting and tying, certain seeds, shells, etc., ai'e inserted. 

438. The next category would include the large tublike baskets for 
storing the cassava cakes, known to the Arawak as habba. Here 
the foundation may be from 15 to 18 inches across, the increase 
in size being obtained by jilaiting an increased number of rectangular 
"herringbone" frames (sec. 435) around the central hourglass. On 
completion of all the plaitwork and protection of the free edges with 
split cane, etc., the whole is supported on four legs, to each of which 
it is tied below at one of the corners, and above to the free edging 
now strengtiiened with cane (sec. 436). The basket is made of itiriti 
(pi. 132 C). 

439. A third distinct group comprises the curious belly baskets 
(pi. 114) of the Arekuna. Pataniona, and others who use them for 
holding peppers. The first specimens I came across were certain 
single-belly ones from the Pomeroon Eiver Arawak, or rather 

I'"!!.:. IGi). — Diagram of a single-belly basket shown in plate IH. 

limited to one of its creeks, the Wakapoa, but there is reason to 
believe that they are not indigenous to the district. Such articles 
differ in technique from all other baskets of the series in that no 
pattern is. or rather can be, worked into the sides. In a single- 
belly specimen (fig. 160). the whole of the latter is plaited first of 
all in the common twilled fashion of one strand over and imder 
three (a), and then with one strand over and under two (&), so as to 
get the "bulge," the maximum of which is obtained by plaiting one- 
over-and-under-one (c). To lessen the bulge, the processes are, re- 
spectively, reversed, and thus the normal size once more reached. 
The Arekuna and Patamona specimens may be plaited into as many 
as three bellies. Made by men from itiriti. 

440. The last and most difficult of the single hourglass series to 
explain and describe are the compound basin or bowl shaped bas- 
kets (pi. 115) made from the " pimpler " (akkoyiiro) palm by 
Wajjishana and Makusi. They are the only kind of hourglass pat- 
tern basketry not made of itiriti. Plaited like the preceding on a 
square foundation, i. e., a single central hourglass, it differs from 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

them in the addition of extra strands during the course of manu- 
facture, the object of such extras being threefold : To form a ledge 
around the base for stability, to help increase the thickness of the 
lower portions of the walls for strength, and to amplify the area of 
the upper portions of the walls for shape. On occasion yet another 

purpose may be served, i. e., 

_.---'" ,.._.^;;"-------'--"--'--"--;.-:.--.-., «"■"•-, when the free extremities of 

the extra strands form a 
horizontal ledge within the 
brim for preventing any of 
the contained articles, usually 
cotton, falling out, except 
when tilted over to an ex- 
treme degree (fig. 161). 
Putting the matter as best I 
can, the manufacture of 
such a basket can perhaps 
be detailed as follows : Upon 
completion of the founda- 
tion, and the raising of the 
walls to the level of the first 
three or four rows of herringbones (fig. 162), the outer layer of pro- 
jecting strands is " broken "' — i. e., turned down — and its ends plaited 
into a flat bordering, the remaining free extremities being then cut 
short (fig. 163). Extra, and usually colored, strands are now passed 

Pig. 161. — Section of a single hourglass pattern 
compound bowl or basin basket, showing the 
inverted brim (a), tlie thickening (6) of the 
lower walls formed by the extra strands and 
edging, and the supporting ledge. (cK I See 
pi. 115 B.) 

Fig. 162. — Compound bowl or basin basket. First stage iu the making of the sides. 

from below up (fig. 164), under the first row of herringbones, then 
over the flat border, and so come to be plaited with the inner layer 
of projecting strands, and thus form with it the particular pattern 
desired (fig. 165). It will be now recognized how the thickening 
of the lower portions of the basket walls depends upon the two layers 
of original wall, the edging formed by the outer wall, and the super- 





163. — Compound bowl or basin basket. 
Second stage in the making. 

imposed extra strands. The lowier ends of these extra ones are finally 
broken or turned up, plaited into one another to form the supporting 
ledge, and their free extremities finally cut. 

441. Multiple hourglass pattern pegalls (pis. 116; 117 B) are 
made on the lines already indicated in section 433 and show 
great varieties both in size and in pattern (sec. 443). 

443. The larger satchels (pi. 
lir A; fig. 166 A) formerly 
met with among the Pomeroon 
Arawak, and evidently, in 
earlier days, among certain 
Indians of Cayenne (pi. 117 
C) must be regarded as veiy 
much flattened multiple hour- 
glass pegalls, the mode of 
construction and pattern 
being identical, the difference 
lying only in the shape. 
But there is certainly what I should call a degenerate form of com- 
paratively small satchel (fig. 166 B), shaped very like the old fash- 
ioned leather cigar case, where, owing to the limited width of plait, 
the hourglass is only traceable (C) or is replaced altogether by 
(what was originally adjacent) the herringbone (D). It is some- 
times to be seen on the Pom- 
eroon, but is apparently made 
more as a toy for tourist or 
retail purposes. 

443. Xames are not usually 
applied to the patterns on the 
uncolored hourglass pegalls, 
although certain of them are 
identical in construction with 
those met with in the stained 
specimens and in the cassava 
squeezers (fig. 167). On the 
other hand, with the use of 
color, while the cover tops of 
the pegalls are all more or less 
identical (figs. 154-156), the artificer will exercise skill and ingenuity 
in depicting various patterns upon tlie sides, adding as often as not 
certain decorative borders (fig. 169, Tc) above and below. These 
patterns, my informants tell me, are handed down from father to 
son, and it is certainly remarkable that, in the absence of any working 
model, these Indians will execute so many and such varied designs 


164. — Compound bowl or basin basket. 
Third stage in the making. 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

with so much accuracy. One old Warrau friend of mine can plait 
more than a score of different patterns. 

444. The following objects are to be found illustrated on the side 
panels of these stained hourglass pattern pegalls, baskets, satchels, etc. 

Fig. 165. — Compound bowl or basin basket. Fourth stage in the making. 


C D 

Fig. 166. — Satchels of the Pomeicon Eirer Arawak. 

(sees. 4.33-442), met with among Arawak, Warrau, and Carib stocks: 
Taking plants, there is the wild nutmeg (Myrhtica sp. ) . the darli tree 
of the Arawak and Warrau (fig. 168), indicated by its main («) and 
secondary (&) branches, which certainly possesses a characteristic ap- 
pearance in between the other forest trees. This, coupled with the 




. Satchel. Arawak. (Ccorgolowii MiiPonm ) 

B, Multiple hourglass pattern pegall. Closed. 
(Georgetown Museum.) 

C, Baskets from Cayeniit'. MitMlc t-ij^iliiL't'iuh tentriry. (After Barn'-re.; 




facts that its fruit is edible and its sap utilized as a mouth wash and 
as a cure for " yaws," may perhaps account for the frequency of the 
pattern. Cliarles Dance (Da, 30^305) gives the same interpretation 

Fig. 167. — Hourglass pegall side-panel (uncolored) patterns. 

to a very similar figure. On the other hand, certain of the Carib 
recognize in this pattern the famous mythical snake which originally 
supplied them with their vegetable charms (WEE, w, sec. 235). 
Another plant represented on these pegalls is blade or savanna grass 
waving in the wind (fig. 169 A). 



Fig. 168.— Hourglass pegall side-panel pattern.s. The wild nutmeg, indicated b.v its main 
(a) and secondarj- |6i branches. 




445. Then we find a centipede (fig. 1G9 B), butterflies (G), and a 
certain edible periwinkle, shown by its sinuous tracks on the mud 


G C E 

Fig. 160. — Hourglass pegall side-panel patterns. A, Savanna grass ; B, centipedes ; C-F, 

periwinkles ; O, butterflies. 

Fig. 170. — Hourglass pegaJl side-panel pattern. The scorpion. 

flats in single (C), double (D), treble (E), or multiple (F) rows. 
Xext comes a scorpion (fig. 170), a water beetle (fig. 171 A), and the 
edible Calandra grub (B). The morokot, one of the most esrteemed 



A B 

ITiG. 171. — Hourglass pegall side-panel patterns. A, Beetle ; B, edible grub. 


Fig. 172. — Hourglass pegall side-panel patterns. A, Morokot fish; B, O, tortoise shell; 
V, E, iiog ; K, decorative border. 




of their fish, is pictured with its spotted liody (fig. 172 A). Eep- 
tiles are also found space for — turtles, frogs, and snakes. Tor- 
toise shell in B, C. The frog is shown in D, and again in figure 173 D, 
a form which degenerates into the dumb-bell shaped figure illustrated 
in figure 172 E. De Goeje (GO. 6) records a similar pattern from 

Fig. 173.- 

-Hourglass peg,ill side-panel patterns. Snake: Showing body alone (A), head 
and tail (B, C, h, t), swallowing a fiog iD). 

the sister colony of Surinam. Snakes are represented in these de- 
signs by at least three different methods : By a more or less accurate 
figure of the body generally, as in the case of the bush-master shown in 
figure 173 without (A), or with (B, C, D), the head (h) and tail (f) ; 
by a pictogram indicating the sinuous nature of the creature's move- 
ments (fig. 174 A, B). or its concentric arrangement when coiled at 
rest (C) ; and by an imitation of the body-surface markings, as in 



Fig. 174. — Hourglass pegall side-panel patterns. Snake: Its sinuous motion (A, B) ; 
when coiled at rest (C) ; its body-markings [D, E. F). 




the case of tlie land camudi or boa constrictor shown in D. E, F and 
tigure 175 A. Figures 173 C and D, illustrating portions of the same 
pegall, represent a snake about to swallow a frog; a similar combi- 
nation is given by Dance and others (PEN, i, 126). 

Birds are indicated as flying (fig. 175 B) with wings (w) out- 
stretched from a body equal in size to the head (A). Dance describes 
the pattern as macaws or parrots flying, while De Goeje. in Surinam, 
interprets it as "swallows, bats, or dancers." According to Pierre 
Barrere (PBA, 138), an identical pattern was met among the Galibi 
of Cayenne (pi. 117 C). Birds are also represented by their three- 
claw tracks (tig. 175 C). The many species of jaguar or " tiger " (fig. 

Fig. 175.- 

-Hourglass pegall side-panel patterns. A, Markings on body of cannidi snake ; 
B, birds in flight ; C, their tbree-claw tracks. 

176) are illustrated in characteristic fashion by the " spots " (s) 
indicated with varying degrees of complexity (B,C,D), or by the 
stripes (A). Certain of the designs (E, F) show phases in the deco- 
rative devolution from the original motif (D). The same thing can 
be noted with figure 177 A, derived from figure 176 A. The kibihi 
is pictured in a series of spotted bands (fig. 177 B) intended for its 
tail, while monkeys (C, D) and deer (E) are illustrated in their 
entirety. A similar design for deer is figured by De Goeje from 
Surinam. In none of these Pomeroon district designs has a repre- 
sentation of the human form been observed; indeed, no record of it 
has been obtainable throughout the Demerara. On the other hand, 
W. Joest (WJ) gives a Surinam example of an erect human figure 
60160°— 24 24 



Fig. 176. — Hourglass pegall side-panel patterns. .laguar, represented b.v its body mark- 
ings, US spotted stripes (.1) or .spots (B, C, D), 




Fig. 177.- 

-Hourglass pegal! side-panel patterns. Jaguar, represented by its body stripe.s 
(A) ; kiliilii. I>y its tail (8) : monkey (C, D) ; deer (£). 



W F 8 

Fig. 178. — Hourglass pegall side-panel patterns. A, Man ; C, dog. 




C ^^^ 

Fig. 179. — Hourglass pegall side-panel patterns. Dog. This and the two following 
figures haye as their motif the limbs and genitalia as shown in preceding figure. 



1 ETH. ANN. 38 

G^ a> 

^ I 




I'lu. ISl. — Hourglass pegall side-panel patterns. Dog. See previous figures. 



[ETH. ANN. 3S 

which I have adapted (fig. 178 A) for comparison with the follow- 
ing series illustrative of the dog. The motif of the dog (fig. 178 B) 
forms a very interesting study as constituting the basis of many of 
the designs. The entire animal, with raised ears (e), is viewed from 
the front. It is standing on its hind legs (/) with all limbs extended 
outward and the male genitalia (</) fully exposed. The remaining 
10 illustrations (figs. 179, 180, 181) all indicate the hind legs cum 
annexis, the artistic representation of which shows a marked de- 

FiG. 182. — Hourglass pegall side-p.ani'l patterns. 

D we.R 

Meaning unknown, even to their maker.s. 

velopment in figure 179 A, B, as compared witli its degenerac}- in 
figure 181 B, C. Dance gives a picture practically identical with 
figure 179 A, as the " Spirit of the sheep," an explanation which, in 
view of the physically characteristic attributes of the male animal, 
easily becomes intelligible. 

446. The meanings of a few of the patterns (fig. 182) have been 
lost, even to the makers themselves. They were taught them by their 
fathers, but they have forgotten what they were supposed to rep- 




447. Freak pegalls. — In dealing witli hourglass (twilled) baskets 
(sec. 433) it was stated that " all jjegalls other than those already, 
mentioned as of the ' armadillo ' type are commenced with the hour- 

FiG. 183. — The cover of a " freak " pegall. 

glass pattern and continued on the twilled type, etc." Occasionally, 
however, some sophisticated Indian will spontaneously construct a 



Fig. 184. — Half the cover of a "freak" pegall. One quarter shows how the pattern 
i.s hidden hy the coloration of the strands. 

freak, which, getting into circulation, may give the ethnologist a 
good deal of trouble. Other Indians will sjDeak of it as " fancy " 
work, and admit that they could easily make one like the pattern 


under consideration, but have never done so, because it was not the 
" proper kind."' Of the two specimens that have passed throufjh my 
hands, both were manufactured by old Arawak. one of them long in 
contact with the Europeans and a reputed miser, the other a visitor 
to the Chicago World's Exposition. In the one pegall (fig. 183) the 
central row of hourglasses on the cover has been replaced by a pat- 
tern very similar to that on the decorative l)order in figure 178 B. 
In the other (fig. 184) there lias been an entire replacement with a 
row of herringbones, a twilled pattern, the coloration of the strands 
(which represent the markings on a local snake) helping in veiling 
the ^Dlaitwork. The technique of this twilled pattern is the lazj- 
man's or toy style mentioned in section 433. 

448. The tentative classification under which I have grouped the 
baskets plaited with specially prepared strands may now be con- 
veniently tabulated thus: 




^f ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ "rp ^ ^ •S* ^Jt ^ ^" -^ 



O bc 


"So ^ 


■T3 bo 






P o 

^ ^ * >; 

C 03 

3 P a- 

0.3 "^ 

rr >, 3 1/ 03 oj 3) 


ai S -=■ ;- 

O re 

-s a 



■asBq aq; jo jnojnoo [Bjonao 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

•149. I am em,ploying the term cover basketrj' in place of a better 
to denote the plaitwork built over and around certain vessels and 
implements for purposes of transport, protection, or decoration. 
The AA'arrau double-calabash float affords a very good illustration 
of the first of the uses to which such basketry may be put (fig. 
185 A). The second has already been noted (sec. 95), the technique 
taking on eitlier a hexagonal (pi. 21 A), a pentagonal (fig. 185 C), or 
a loojjed (pi. 21 B; fig. 185 B) form. Examples of the third or deco- 
rative object of cover basketry would seem to be rarely met with 
nowadays, except in the hair combs (sec. 517). and perhaps in cer- 

Pio. 185. — Examples of cover basketry- 

tain forms of blowpipe (sec. 117). The only specimen of this kind 
of work that has ever come into my possession is a Makusi paddle- 
fchaped club (pi. 37 A), where the plaitwork is of a twilled pattern 
with a single spiral weft. The method of manufacture (fig. 185 D) 
has evidently been the following : The portion of implement about to 
be decorated is covered with a single layer of separate warp, in close 
aiDposition, placed longitudinally, and firmly attached at their bases 
with kuraua twine. The spiral weft has then been introduced and 
wound around and around, left to right, from below up, producing 
in its course a pattern dependent upon the number and regidarity of 
warps covered or backed. 




450. Knapsacks. — A shoulder basket or knapsack is built of an 
open or close work rectangular foundation, to be subsequently' at- 
tached to a light but strong frame, outside of which the projecting 
strands are plaited together to form the sides, or, if the general 
resemblance to a bedroom slipper is recognized, the " uppers." The 
pattern of the mesh may or may not be identical throughout the 
foundation and sides, and with perhaps one exception (fig. 188) of 




• ^ ^ y^ ^^^^f^i/j- 

f° I- ^^. 

(» ^a^ 


FiG. ISO. — Manufacture of the knapsack. 

all those seen in British Guiana, has its counterpart eitlier in the 
mats, trays, or baskets that have already been drawn attention to. 
Though I am illustrating the various tyj^es met with among the 
Akawai, Arawak, Wapishana, Carib, Makusi, Taurepang (Arekuna), 
and Patamona. I have every reason to believe that further research 
beyond the area to which my wanderings have been limited will 
bring to light a very large number of variations (fig. 189) . It is man- 
ufactured as follows (fig. 186) : The frame (A) consists of two ver- 



[ETII. ANN". 3S 

tical sticks tied to two transverse ones, above and below. The upper 
transverse piece lies in front, the lower one behind. On completion 




— ■p-H 




^ ^ 

^'"^ir^'^r^^^llf! p 















Fig. 187. 

-Di.Tgram of Taiirppmig kn.apsack shown in plate 118 E, F. Itiriti 
strands doubled, but single in similar Pataniona pattern. 

of the plaitwork (B, C) and the trimming, etc., of the edges just 
like those of the pegalls (sec. i3G), the back of the knapsack is 
strengthened with two additional thicker rods having forked ex- 

J'li:. ISS. — Diagram of knnpsaclt shown in plate 118 C. 

tremities (E), so arranged that they lie to the outside of the original 
ones, with their forks supporting the upper of the transverse pieces. 
Frame and supports are firmly tied together above and below, both 
through the interstices of, as well as outside of, the plaitwork (D). 




Around the free edges of the basket are finally tied a series of loops 
(F), through which is passed the cord that tightens down the con- 
tents covered by the knapsack cover. 

A strong band, either in the form of a bark strip of kakaralli, 
l>lack mahn. etc. (sec. 392) or woven out of ite fiber (sees. 01,0-2) is 
attached to the angles of the upper crosspieces, etc. This strap is 
usually passed over the top of the head (pi. 118 A), and only rarely 
is it placed over the upper part of the chest. Our effects, says 
Scliomburgk at Pirara, were packed in small tin canisters, each of 
the weight of about 25 pounds, which the Indians carried on a broad 

Fig. 189. — Basket, (an, and knapsack. Roucouyenne. (After 

band suspended from tJie forehead, either plaited of the young leaves 
of the ite palm {Maurifia fcxuosa) or consisting of a bark strip of 
Lecythis. To make their load quite steady, it was fixed by other lash- 
ings round the shoulders, in the way soldiers carry their knapsacks. 
This is the general mode which the Indians adopt, whether male or 
female, for carrying burdens (ScF, 195) . The method, noticed on oc- 
casion among the sterner sex, of passing the strap over the shoulders 
and under the armpits, would seem to be copied from the Creole Negroes. 
The following are some of the names of these articles: Waiyari 
(Arawak). suriana and walishi or warishi (Carib), tiraga (Aka- 
wai), morutu and karari according as it is close or open work (Ma- 
kusi), mabubu or pauwai, and aradu in similar conditions (Wapi- 



[ETH. ANN. 33 

shana) ; also as cartoweri (BB,32) and catauri (CC, 49) ; in Cayenne, 
as catouri, liotte; in Island Carib, catoli (RO, 579). 

451. The accompanying illustrations (pi. 118 B-F; figs. 187-193) 
are intended to show various kinds of knapsack and of mesh that I 
have noted in their manufacture. 

Fig. loo. — Diagram of kuapsack shown in plate 118 B. 

Fig. 191. — Diagram of Wapishana and Makusi knapsack. Crossed quadri- 
lateral openwork mesh after introduction of interpolated strands. 

452. Knapsack covers. — To protect the contents of the shoulder 
basket from rain, it is either covered with any conveniently sized 
lea^^es at hand, arranged from below upward so as to overlap, or 
with a mat, etc. It may be provided with a specially constructed 
cover, usually wider below than above, so as to allow of its being 
tucked under the basket's edges. Among the Wapishana, this special 






.i m*rm 



B ^1^ 1^- Si^^^^M- A. 


A, Method of carrying knapsack. Makiisi. B, Knapsack. Akawai and Patamona. (For 
diapjam see fig. 190.) C, O, Front and back views of knapsack found in Patamona camp. 
Source of origin doubtfuL Perhaps old Makusi. (For diasramsee fig. ISS.) E, F, Front and 
back views of Taurepang knapsack. (I'or diagram sec fig. 187.) 




>-* '^'^^;V^*'^^r*- "" 


^ , Kna|>sack cover made of two ite leaves plaited to form a pattern of 
horizontal stripes. Wapishaua. Note the one-over-and-uiider- 
two plait and the symmetrical lower cdginj;. 

B, Kiia[)saclc cover made from the prepared h-aflets of the akko-yuro j aim plaited In a vertically 
striped pal tern. Wapislmna. 

[^ \ ^ X, X N^-, ^ • < < -fv ■\, \ 

C, Knapsack cover made of two ite leaves plaited to form a pal tern of horizontal stripes. Wapi- 
shaua. Note the one-over-and-inidcr-thrce plait and the asymmetrical lower edging. 





co\er is made either from ite or akko-yuro palm. With the former, 
two complete leaves are plaited together on the flat so as to form a 
pattern of horizontal stripes (pi. 119 A,C) or concentric rectangular 
figures. With the latter the septa (from which the midribs have 
been previously removed) are plaited into either horizontal or ver- 
tical stripes (pi. 119 B). With both kinds of leaves, the patterns can 
be plaited either in the one-under-and-over-two (pi. 119 A) or the 
one-under-and-over-three style (C). The lower edge of the cover is 
completed in one of two waj-s. All the strands projecting in the one 
direction are plaited together and tied, with the result that we get 
two conical bundles, placed end on end, the two corners appearing 
synnnetrical (pi. 119 A), reminding one very much of the edging in 
the second group of 
mats (sec. 396). Or, all 
the strands projecting 
from both directions 
are plaited and knotted 
together at the one ex- 
tremity, i. e., asymmet- 
rical (pi. 119 C). The 
Makusi speak of all 
these knapsack covers 
as sii-mba (sec. 396). 
It may perhaps be that 
it is these same covers 
that are i-eferred to in 
the following extract : 
Among the Atorai and 
Wapishana, fastidious 
(dclicafes) young girls sit upon dainty concave mats which they have 
themselves artistically plaited, and there they squat in all their 
nudity like a pretty fruit upon a plate. The others get their rumps 
all soiled with dust (Cou, ii, 316). Or, again, with the two halves of 
a split ite leaf, the split septa without any plaiting may be held to- 
gether by a twined weft passing backward and forward throughout 
their length (pi. 120 A). 

453. Mats, trays, baskets, and knapsacks adaj^ted from natural 
forms are made for either temporary or permanent use, those in 
the former categorj' being rapidly put together in the case of an 
Indian out in the forest having some meat, fruit, etc., to carry, and 
nothing to carry it in. Leaves, sticks, and even bark may be employed 
under such circumstances. 

454. The ite palm leaf is especially adapted for this purpose, and 
many interesting shapes of basket can be made from it. The leaf 

60160°— 24 25 

Fig. 192. — Diagram of Wapishana and Malsusi knap- 
sacli. Crossed quadrilateral openwork mesli before 
introduction of interpolated strands. 



[ETH. ANN. 3S 

is thus utilized by Warrau women, who make a sort of spoon-shaped 
scoop out of it (fig. 194) by successively interlacing the previously' 
slit-down septa from alternate sides, starting with the outermost. 
After some half-dozen or so have thus been interlaced the remaining 
septa of each half of the leaf are plaited together into a tail, the two 
tails being finally crossed and tied along the distal margin of the 
basket. These people call it a liorobihi. On the Rupununi River 
and its tributaries are also to be met some very interesting forms of 
single-leaf ite baskets, known as daro-an (Wapishana), pakaruma 
(Makusi), etc. (pi. 120 B, C). 

455. But the ite leaf can also be split and used double, e. g., by 
Wapishana, Makusi, and others, to take on shapes, etc., that may be 

Fig. 193. — Diagram of Taurepang knapsack with a doulile itiriti strand. Sim- 
ilar to Pat.nmnna article with a double mamuri strand, and to Pomeroon ^ 
Carib one with a single itiriti strand. 

specialized under different names. For instance, there are the trays 
or "plates" for handing food to visitors on, etc. (pi. 121), which, 
from their resemblance to the shape of a sting-ray, are known as 
tchiipare (MakUsi) or ji-bur (Wapishana). The patterns may be 
either horizontal or vertical, while the leaf-tips themselves are either 
jalaited into sides and rim or else into a band running down the 
back. Then, again, there are baskets, each of two half leaves, plaited 
in such a way as to form baskets for carrying the pepper pot (pi. 122 
A,B,C), and known as sintakai-an (Makusi) and ka-irrkinkinyan 
(Wapishana), and other similar but larger ones (D). not used for 
transj^ort but for slinging up, by strings attached at the extremities, 
to the beam.s. Then there is the squat little basket (pi. 123 A), 
which, owing to its resemblance to the larynx of the howler monkey — 



an article used elsewhere as a box for holding paint, etc. (sec. 38.5) — 
<roes by the name of to-mo (Maknsi) or tsubirawa (Wapishana). 
Most useful of all. perhaps, are the temporary knapsacks (pi. 123 B, 
C), with the split halves of the ite leaves plaited into one another in 
certainly at least one of tliree ways: a closework, a hexagonal (pi. 
123 B), and a twined (C) mesh. In the closework pattern the two 
ends of the leaves project at the lower ends, whence the Makusi call 
the basket a pochi-panaiyang, i. e., night-owl ear. The specimen 
which I had selected for photographic purposes was unfortunately 
lost en route, and hence I can offer no illustration. The Wapishana 

Fig. 19-1. — Ite-leaf scoop basket. 

describe all three varieties as pauwai. a name which seems to be 
applied b}' them to any fairly large carrying basket. 

456. The leaves of the turn and the manicol palm (pis. 124, 125) 
ai-e used for the larger and stronger baskets, especially for knap- 
sacks, etc., when heavy weights have to be carried. The Pomeroon 
Arawak and Carib will thus employ the manicol for purposes of 
temporary expediency in one of at least four different ways: 

(i) Having removed two compai'atively short but equal lengths 
of midrib with attached septa, they are placed opposite one another 
and the sejDta on both sides plaited together (pi. 12.5 A). The bottom 
of the basket is subsequently closed in similar manner by commencing 
to plait at the lower extremity of each midrib (B) . Should the mouth 
of the basket prove too " open," an extra piece of midrib (m) with at- 
tached septa may finally be added. From its resemblance in general 


shape (C) to the " adam's ai^ple " of the howler monkey, the Arawak 
name of the completed article is itore-oyore, i. e., baboon larynx. 

(ii) Again, four much longer, equal lengths of .the leaf may be 
plaited together on the flat, by means of their contiguous septa, but 
in such a way that those on the outer side of each pair of midribs 
remain free for the present (pi. 124 A). In the one variety of 
basket (B) the midribs are bent from below up at a spot between 
the third and fourth quarter of their length, the hitherto free septa 
being ultimately plaited together from below up to form a recep- 
tacle very like a knapsack. I have seen consideralile weights of raw 
clay carried in these baskets (jjI. 125 D. E). 

(iii) In the second variety the two pairs of midribs are bent up 
at both ends (C), and the outer sets of free septa plaited together 
into a common center (A) on each side, to form ultimately, when 
joined, the handle of what is practically a hand basket (D). 

(iv) On tile Pomeroon, with a single leaf, the midrib is sharply 
bent into three approximately equal portions into the shape of the 
letter L, the vertical bar of which is formed of the midrib doubled 
on itself (E). The septa of the two constituents of this \ertical 
bar constitute the weft, while those on the horizontal bar (the bot- 
tom of the basket) constitute the warp. The free ends of the 
weft, from alternate sides, aie plaited into one another and into the 
extremities of the warp to make the handle. 

On the Eupununi I have seen the kokerit leaf applied to similar 
purposes (pi. 126 A). 

4-57. Even if suitable leaves should fail him the Indian will never- 
theless utilize withes and bark strips wherewith to carry the unex- 
pected load (pi. 126 B, C). He will break and tie the former into 
three oval and two circular hoops to form the framework for the 
back, sides, and ends of his knapsack, tie them together, and fill up 
the interspaces with the bark strips interlaced in all directions. An- 
other broad bark strip tied on either side of the frame will enable 
him to hang it from over his chest. I have observed these make- 
shifts in the Makusi and Patamona country. 



A , ICnapsack cover made from the two halves of an ite leaf, the spht 
septa (without any jilaiting) being held together by a twined weft 
passing backward and forward. 

Ji, C, Sini^le leaf Ite satchels from the Rupimiini. Wapishaua and -Makusi. 




C D 



A , C, Ilorizontal patterns; B, vortical. C, D, Front and back view of the same "plate." 

























A, The ite-li>af "throat box " baskit of iho MakiiNi, etc. 

^ il 

B C 

B, C, Uu leaf knapsacks. Makusi, Waiiishana. etc. B, Hexagonal iiattein; C, Twined ijattert. 








A, fi, C. Turn or niaiiirol loaf "throiil box" basket. 

iJ, E, Maoicol k-af Ijaskct ami kiiapsat-k from the Ponieioon. They are respeftivcly idenlical with If and li 

in plate 121. 




.4 . Kokcrit leaf knapsack from the Rupununi liivrr. 

B, C, Tcraiiorary knapsack forniuJ of witlics and bark strips. By moan-, of the bark band at Ihe back it will Ix slims over the 

carrier's chest. 



.4, Maiiufiictiire of coUoii liamraock. Fraine uf two hori;'oiital bt-anis, etc. 
Warp vertical, weft horizontal. Front set of warps undi\-ided. The 
first bar (weft) of two chain-twists {ct) is being made with four knoljbed 
spools (ks), and two warps are taken np at a time. The level (/) keeps 
the Hue even. 

£, Manufacture of cotton hammock on frame of two horizontal bars, warps vertical, wefl 
horizontal. Front .set of warps undivided. To insure the bars (weft) being equidistant, 
etc., the reclanfiuhir wooden laniin;e are inserted, 


Chapter XIX 


Preliruinary (45S) ; materials (45!)). 

Manufacture on a frame of two vertical posts : The cotton hammock of the 
Arekuua (460) ; the tucum, etc., hammocks of the Upper Rio Negro (461) ; 
cotton hammocks of the Arawak, Carib, Akawal, Makusi, Wapishana, etc. 
(462) ; the ite (sarau) hammock of the Warrau (463, 464). 

Manufacture on a frame of two horizontal timbers (loom) (465) ; warps in- 
terwoven, without division (460) ; with division (467) ; permanent separator 
(468) ; raiser (4G0) ; temporary separator, beater, or presser (470) and their 
maniimlations (471) ; geographical distribution (472) ; variations in the bar 
of the cotton hammock (473, 474) ; an obsolete variety (475) ; cotton ham- 
mock ornamentation (476). 

Manufacture of the ite (sensoro) Warrau hammock (477). 

Hanunocks : Coloration (478); classification (479); scale lines (480); method 
of slinging (481, 482). 

458. The first mention in history of a liammock is in Chanca's 
letter relative to the second voyage of Columbus — the hamaca of the 
Santo Domingo natives. The bed was made of cotton network, and, 
according to their custom, suspended (DAC, 450). Another kind 
of bed besides the cotton hammock used by the Island Carib M-as 
the cabane, a quantity of banana or other leaves placed on several 
withes wattled across, the whole suspended at the four corners with 
thick ropes (EO, 490). Wilson, who was on the River AA^iapoco 
(Oyapock), Caj-enne, in 1606, writes thus about the Indians" beds, 
" which they call Hamakes ; they are some of them made of cotton 
wooll, and some of bai-kes of trees; they use to lye in them hang- 
ing" (JW, 348). Some 20 years later Davies had this to say about 
the natives on the Amazon stream : " The manner of their Lodging 
is this: they have a kinde of Net made of the rinde of a tree which 
they call Haemac, being three fathom in length, and two in breadth, 
and gathered at both ends, at length, then fastening either end of a 
Tree, to the full length, about a yard and halfe from the ground : 
Wlien hee hath desire to sleepe, hee creepes unto it" (DW. 41.5). 
On the Berbice the cotton hammocks liad a board at each end (BER, 
131). These descriptions seem to bear interesting comparison with 
that of the very primitive article of the Mura Indians of the lower 
Amazon — a rudely woven web of ragged stri23s of the inner bark of 
the Monguba tree (HAVB, 157). So large is the seed pod of the 
kokerit palm that, with a cord fastened at either end, it is frequently 
used as a child's cot in place of a hammock. Some of the tribes, e. g., 



Guajiva, Chiricoa, and Guama, would seem to have slept on the hard 
ground without any covering except the open air (G, ii, 192). 

459. At the present day hammocks are met with throughout the 
Guianas, and vary not only in material but in technique. The ma- 
terials out of which they are known to have been woven are cotton, 
ite, tucum, yauary (awarra), samee, and kuraua. On the Orinoco, 
the ite-fiber hammocks were known as chinchorro [ ? the modern 
sensoro of the Warrau (sec. 477)], nets of the common people as dis- 
tinguished from the hamaca made of cotton, the beds of the mag- 
nates (G, 1, 144; II, 93). Like the cotton, the ite hammock had a very 
wide distribution in the Guianas, and especially in the case of the 
Warrau constituted an important article of trade. At Sao Gabriel, 
on the Eio Negro, Schomburgk desci'ibes how the chief employment 
of the women was in the manufacture of hammocks from the mauri- 
tia palm (ScQ, 254). 

The tucum article is much stronger than the ite. A samee or samec 
hammock is mentioned by Bancroft from the Demerara (BA, 9.5, 

Silkgrass or kuraua (Bromelia) hammocks were found among the 
Surinam Arawak (StC, i, 330; WJ, 84) and on the Rio Negi-o, but 
no details of the technique are available. According to Coudreau 
they would seem to have commanded very higli prices, for, while the 
mauritia hammock sold for from $20 to $2.5 and the tucum for from 
$50 to $70, the kuraua one fetched from $100 to $400 (Cou, ii, 220). 
It was with the now obsolete huge cotton hammocks of the Corentyn 
Arawak that the Moravians, it is said, made quite a little trade, for 
most of the inhabitants of the lower settlements (the narrative con- 
tinues) sleep in them, as they prefer them to beds. They therefore 
send them now and again down to Surinam and Berbice, where they 
bring a high price — fi'om 9 to 12 joes, which is from 17 to 19 jwunds 
sterling (StC. i, 295). 

460. The cotton hammock of the Arekuna (Taurepang), found 
also among some of their Patamona neighbors, is probably the sim- 
plest of its kind. Two posts are stuck into the ground at a distance 
of 6 or 7 feet apart, with perhaps, but not necessarily, a crosspiece 
tied above to steady them, and the warp rolled horizontally from 
below up in close contiguity, commencing on the left hand, so as to 
form a front and back set of strands (fig. 195). Ear bar (weft) 
formed of two strands, or what is practically the same thing, one 
strand doubled on itself, is put on from above down, like a chain 
twist, each link in the chain inclosing two warps, and finally tied in 
a knot below. I have also seen the weft manufactured from below 
up. Of the two warps so inclosed one is taken from the front set 
and the other from the back set of strands. The first bar is put on 




toward the left of the frame. On completion of the bar a light lath 
or cane is placed to its right, and close to it, between the front and 
back sets of warps and left there. The object of its insertion is to 
facilitate the manipulation of taking uj) a warp from each set which 
otherwise would be in close apposition and difficult to distinguish, 
and also to get the bar quite straight. As it is the two warps can be 
now picked out easily and quickly by passing the left forefinger 
between them in the interspace between bar and lath, and so hook- 
ing them downward and forward to make the next link in the bar. 
When all the bai's are completed the hammock is slipped upward oif 
the two posts. The scale lines are then attached to the loops that 
have been around the posts beyond the extreme bars. 

■461. Tucum and yauary fiber hammocks are to be seen on the 
branches of the upper Rio Negi'o. The simpler kinds are apparently 
identical in structure with the cotton ones just described, 

Fig. 193. — Hammock making. Frame of two vertical posts : narp liorizontal, weft 
vertical ; each bar (weft) of two threads. 

but they differ in technique. The " frame " consists of a hori- 
zontal bar to each extremity of which a peg is attached, the dis- 
tance between the pegs limiting the length of the hammock. The 
15egs, in fact, correspond with the two vertical posts around which 
the warp of the hammock just described is wound. The weft 
is attached at given distances along the bar, and its ends hang 
free. A long thread, after being strung around both pegs and 
tied, forms the first two wai-ps, which are now looped up througli- 
out in the usual way, with the chain twist formed by the two 
weft strings. A second pair of warps is placed in position, and 
these similarly treated. The process is thus continued until the last 
pair of warps is tied, the hammock hanging all the while from the 



crossbar. Once the threads have been prepared, etc., the weaving of 
such a hammock can be completed in a daj-. The material of the bars 
(weft) is usually the same as that of the warp, but occasionally, 
with a view to increasing the durability of the article, they may be 
made of kuraua twine (KG, ii, 210-211). 

462. In the next variety of hammock, also of cotton, met with 
among Arawak, Carib, Akawai, Patamona, Makusi, AVapishana, etc., 
and thus of wide distribution, there is a similar arrangement of hori- 
zontal warp with vertical weft, on two posts, and the "insertion of a 
lath or withe to sejjarate the front and back set of strands. The 
difference, however, lies in the double number (four) of weft strands 
in each bar, and in the manner of weaving them. This is effected as 

follows : Knotting the 
four strands together at 
their extremities, pass 
two in front of the two 
top warjjs and the other 
two behind, taking the 
precaution not only that 
one warp is from the 
front set and the other 
from the back set, but 
that the two posterior 
wefts, as they emerge 
from below, pass to the 
outer sides of the two 
anterior ones. Now slip 
the anterior wefts behind 
the next pair of warps 
(one from the back and 
one from the front set), and the posterior ones in front of them, simi- 
larly arranging that the latter pass to the outer sides. The diagram 
(fig. 196) will help to make this description clearer. The process is 
thus repeated until the last pair of warps is reached, the bar com- 
pleted, and the four strands knotted. The first bar, instead of being 
woven toward the left-hand side of the frame, as in the simpler Are- 
kmia tj'pe, may be made at the center and the remaining bars worked 
to the right of it. '\Alien the right half of the hammock is thus com- 
pleted, the remaining bars are started from the left of the central one, 
and so worked outward to the side. Furthermoi'e, instead of weav- 
ing the bars from above down, they may be made from below u^:) — a 
method which the Indian women tell me is somewhat quicker. 

463. The '" sarau " hammock of the "Wan-au, their so-called "bar" 
hammock of the Pomeroon district, is manufactured on the same 

Fic. Ifli). — ITammor'k ninking. Framr of two vertical 
posts : warp horizontal, weft vertical ; eacli bar 
(weft) of four threads. Two warps talien up at 
a time. 




principles as the preceding, save that a single warp is taken up at a 
time (fig. 197). alternately one from the back and one from the front 
set. It must be remembered, however, that in the last bar on the ex- 
treme right and left two warps are taken up at a time, a front and a 
back one. As a result, these two bars are shorter than the inter- 
mediate ones, thus as- 
sisting in giving shape 
to the hammock when 
complete d. The bars 
(wefts) are usually 
wo\'en from below up. 
The M'arp is here made 
of ite fiber and the four 
weft strands (bar) of 
cotton. The reason 
given for the employ- 
ment of cotton is that, 
owing to the increased 
friction, there is no 
chance of the weft slip- 
ping along the warp. 

464. Finally there is 
a cotton hammock made 
by the Barama Eiver 
and other Carib, and I believe also by certain Makusi, similar to the 
preceding sarau (sec. 4G3). Here, except with the extreme riglit and 
left bars, which are manufactured on identical lines, only one warp 
is taken up at a time, but alternately for each bar (fig. 198). In other 

Fig. 197. — Hammock making. Similar to preceding, 
but, except on extreme left and rigbt, only a single 
warp is taken up at a time. 

Fig. 198. — Hammock making. Similar to preceding, but, except on extreme left and 
rigbt. a .«iu!.'le warp is taken lui at a time alternately for each bar. 

words, starting, saj', from below up, with any particular bar, the 
four weft strands will inclose warps 1, 3, 5, etc., but in the adjoining 
one the warps taken up will be 2, 4, 6, etc., in the next one warps 
1, 3, 5, etc., again, and so on. The result of this arrangement is that, 
what with the resiliency, overlapping of the warps, and closeness of 
the texture, the bars are only visible on the one (the outer) side of 



[ETH. ANN. 3S 

the liammock. the otlier being rendered smooth and comfortable to lie 
on. Occasionally t^yo or four single additional weft strands maj' be 
interpolated in similar fashioil (alternate) between everj- two bars. 

465. In the following series of haimnocks made on a square mov- 
able frame (fig. 199), the cotton warp is run vertically and the bars 
(weft) horizontally. The Makusi distinguish them from the pre- 
vious ones by calling the latter nonga-kang (earth, ground) and the. 
former yeya-kang (beam). The frame, resting on the slope slightly 

backward, is made of two uprights 
joined by crossbeams above and be- 
low (the latter about a foot from the 
ground), the fixture of the lower 
beam being usually a permanency 
(peg, rope, or mortise), that of the 
upper being a mortise with removable 
wedge, the object of which will be 
appreciated later. The whole frame, 
or vertical pieces only, is known as 
kaulu-ngai (Wapishana), the hori- 
zontal pieces as taramiruna (Wapi- 
shana). Another peculiarity com- 
mon to the sei-ies is that the warp is 
run in close contiguity from cross- 
beam to crossbeam, not direct, but 
over a " head '' stick, pupai-yapong 
(Makusi) or yuru (Patamona) after 
the name of the palm whence it is cut, 
which, when finally pulled out on 
completion of the weaving, allows the 
article to be removed whole. The dia- 
gram (fig. 199) will serve to explain 
this arrangement, whei'e a will repre- 
sent the loops at one end and l> those 
at the other end of the finished ham- 
mock. The head stick ( A ) , it may be 
noted, can be arranged either on the front or back set of warps. In 
the present case it is depicted on the back set. 

■1-66. The varieties met with in this series of hammock will now 
depend upon whether the front set of warps is woven upon just in 
the same condition as it stands or only subsequently to being di- 
vided or split into an anterior and posterior layer of strands. In 
the former case the procedure is thus continued : Having rolled some 
cotton on four knobbed spools (fig. 200), known as kane-yapong 
(Makusi), tinuiki (Patamona), etc., and loojDcd it on each so as to 

Fig. 199. — Manufacture of a cotton 
hammock. Diagram to show how 
vertical warp is run indirectly 
over a liead sticls (h) which, wlien 
finally pulled out, allows the 
article to be removed whole. 




prevent accidental unwinding, their four ends are knotted together, 
placed on the left hand of the warp, low down on the frame, and 
woven in two series, an upper and a lower chain twist (or twined 
pattern), after a fashion illustrated in the diagram (pi. 127 A), the 
left hand picking up two warps at a time. The lower chain is, of 
course, made first, and its ends will hang at the extreme right of the 
warp, while the operator, a woman, proceeds with the upper chain. 

Fit;. 2<>0. — Knobhed spools for hammock making. 

Of the two, the latter is the easier and quicker to make, and hence 
when the husband feels inclined to help his wife a little — as a matter 
of fact, men very commonly assist — it is generally this one which he 
chooses. To insure the two chains running quite horizontal, a level 
(kushibir=Wapishana, any palm strip) has been previously attached 
to the warp below them. This (7) consists of two straight-edged laths 
or split pieces of cane, palm, etc., fixed front and back, and so, in ad- 
dition, serves to keep the separate warp strands in regular sequence. 
When both chains are completed their four constituents are knotted 
together at the extreme right of the warp, and one bar (weft) is 



[ETH. AN:«. 38 

finished. If the bar be now examined, it will be recognized that 
while in pattern it is identical with that described in iDi-eceding series 
(sees. 462-464), in technique it is entirely different. Bar upon bar 
thus comes to be woven, each intervening space being carefully meas- 
ured by means of thin rectangular wooden laminse (pi. 127 B) slipped 
here and there in between the warp strings. These laminae (dadar- 
alib=Wapishana, to tighten up) are cut to an exactly similar size and 
are usually threaded, some four or five together in a string (of a 

length a little greater than the 
width of the warp) passing 
through an aperture at their cen- 
ters. On completion of a bar they 
will be inserted here and there, 
resting on its edge, their upper 
limit regulating the distance on 
which the level, removed from be- 
low, has now to be refixed so as to 
insure the next bar being exactly 
parallel. As soon as the upper 
crossbeam is reached the wedges on 
either side of it are removed and 
the vertical height of the frame 
slightlj' reduced. This now allows 
of the whole front set of warps 
being rolled downward upon itself 
or revolved, as it were, over both 
horizontal beams until the last 
completed bar comes down to 
about the same level on which the 
first one was made, and what was 
previously the back set of warps 

Fig. 201.— Hammock making. Frame of comeS to be the front Set. The 
tw» horizontal timbers. Division o( , . _ , 

wedges are next reinserted and 
the work resumed as before, bar 
upon bar, until the article is fin- 
ished. Finally, b}' slipping out the headpiece, the hammock is re- 
moved bodily from the frame. These hammocks are to be seen 
among Wapishana and Makusi. 

467. In those cases where the front set of warps is split into an 
anterior and posterior layer the method of procedure is more com- 
plicated. I will again consider that the headpiece has been attached 
to tlie back set of warps, bearing in mind that, so far as the actual 
weaving is concerned, it is quite immaterial upon which set it has 
been fixed, because the whole warp, as has been already mentioned, 
can be rolled or revolved from the front to the back as desired. The 

front set of warps into an anterior 
and posterior layer, with the permanent 




Z i * i t)7 i 2 to 

back set of warps must again be temporarily discarded, and is no 
longer represented in the illustrations, except in cross section. 

468. The division or splitting of the front set into an anterior and 
posterior layer is effected by counting the strings from left to right 
at the level of the upper beam (fig. 201). separating the odd from 
the even, and keeping them apart by a lath or rod (ps) which, for 
the reason that it has to be retained in the same relative position 
permanently throughout the process of manufacture, can be described 
as the permanent separator (sko- 
telibi , Wapishana ) . In the case 
illustrated the odd numbers make 
up the posterior layer and the even 
ones the anterior. 

469. Once the division is effected 
and maintained (fig. 202) an ap- 
paratus is devised for bringing for- 
ward, for raising, any or all of the 
posterior layer strands, as the op- 
erator ma}' require, so as to admit 
of the passage of the weft behind 
them. This apparatus, or raiser 
(yunando, Malmsi, to pick up, to 
raise; iseranna, Wapishana), is 
made of cotton, and consists {>■) of 
a number of loops (each one inclos- 
ing one posterior-layer thread) at- 
tached to a basal chain, which, 
when dragged upon, pulls on the 
loops and so raises their inclosed 
posterior-layer strands (fig. 2031. 
It takes the place of a heddlc 

470. But to get each loop of this 
raiser, in the course of its manu- 
facture, into its required position 
around its respective string, the 
posterior layer has to be brought forward to permit of its freer 
manipulation. This is effected by placing from left to right below 
the permanent separator a temporarj' one — a sharp-edged, long, thin, 
flat lath — under the odds and over the evens, and then turning it 
on its broader axis (fig. 202 ts). From the work which it is subse- 
quently called upon to do, this temporary separator can also be called 
the presser or beater. The AA^apishana call it the taij^arribi. The 
free end of a cotton yarn unwound from but still attached to its 
ball can now be conveniently inserted from right to left behind all 

Vm. 202. — Hammock making. Frame of 
two horizontal timbers. The separator 
is inserted below the permanent one, 
iiw order to bring forward tlie posterior 
layer lof the front set) of warps, so as 
to get plenty of space to make the 



[ETH. ANN. 33 

the posterior strings and drawn forward at every interspace to help 
form the basal chain, progressively manufactured from left to right, 
the simple construction of which is shown in the diagram (fig.. 203). 
It is finally knotted. When the temporary separator, beater, or 
presser is next removed, the posterior layer of strings flies back to its 
original position, but is now under control of the raiser, which can 
also be moved in a vertical direction up or down, as mux be desired 
(fig. 204). The permanent raiser in the remaining diagrams is rep- 
resented as a rod instead of a lath. 

471. To make a commencement, fix on your level and make your 
first row of single or double chain twist according to the pattern 
desired (fig. 206). The technique of the double chain twist is similar 
to that already described (sec. 466), and that of the single one similar 
to its upper or lower moiety. The only difference is that but one 
alternate warp, instead of each adjoining two, is locked every time 

Fig. 20.S. — Tlie raiser (heddle-rod) in course of manufacture around the posterior layer 

(of front set) of warps. 

into a link of the twist (fig. 204 ct). Once this chain twist is com- 
pleted at the right extremity of the warp, it is knotted and cut. 
Now pull the raiser forward and, inserting the beater behind the 
posterior layer of warps, between it and tlie anterior layer, turn it on 
its broader axis (fig. 205 ts). This will now afford you the neces- 
sary space to insert your first single weft. But remember that while 
the chain-twist weft of this and other kinds of cotton hammock (sec. 
466) are made with a short knob-headed spool (fig. 200). the plain, 
single wefts are here inserted on a long, thin, flat wooden shuttle 
(skelaribni, Wapishana) with concave ends, much after the style used 
in weaving an ordinary modern fish net (pi. 128 fs). The presser, 
beater, or temporary separator is next brought into requisition. 
This, after being slipped in between the two separated layers of (the 
front) warp, is made to beat and press upon the weft just manufac- 
tured, and this latter, beaten and pressed in tum downward against 







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.1, ('(illoii haramoi-k willioiit triiige. ((icorgplowii Miisi'iim.) 

li. Cotton liammock with ornamental fringe. (Cleorgetowii Museum,) 

(.', Cotton liammoc-k with feather decoration. Made on the Brazilian-British Oniana border. 

(Oeorgetown Museum.) 

.f^, .V -.iiiic. .\h,kiiM. I riiuh,^i.i|ili l.> t;ii(t(|i and Mel uiuiell.) 




the chain twist supported by the level, is freed of any irregularity or 
unevenness. It is now removed (whereby the posterior layer of 
warps spings back, and with it the raiser) to be reinserted, on this 

Fig. 204. — Hammock making. Frame of two horizontal timbers. Tlie temporary sepa- 
rator being removed, tlie posterior la.ver of ( front set of) warps resumes Its original 
position, but is now under control of the raiser. The level is next attached and the 
first chain-twist made by taking up every alternate warp at a time. 

occasion behind the anterior layer, between it and the posterior layer 
(fig. 204 ts). and next turned on its broad axis. There is no diffi- 
culty in its insertion, because it can be guided into position along 
the front and lower edge of the permanent separator. The anterior 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

layer of warp strands is in this manner brought to the front and the 
next weft inserted. The process is thus repeated— an alternation of 

warp layer with every weft 
strand — until the upper cross- 
beam is reached. The latter is 
now loosened and the whole 
warp rolled downward on its 
own axis, as with an undivided 
front set of warps (sec. 466), care 
being taken that the permanent 
separator does not slip out of po- 
sition. The final stages are car- 
ried out as before. 

472. Similar apparatus and 
procedure is found among the 
Tukano and Desana (both Betoya 
stock), and also in the Tariana 
and other Arawak stocks, all of 
them on branches of the upper 
Eio Negro. Furthermore, it is 
found in the neighboring areas of 
Venezuela and Colombia. So in 
our own colony among the Wapi- 
shana, Maopityan, Makusi, Ta- 
ruma, and others, as well as in 
Surinam and Cayenne, where, be- 
tween the upper Maroni and Oya- 
pock Kivers, it has been met 

among the Emerillon (GOE, pi. xvi, fig. 10). Tucum (Astro- 

caryum) thread can also be worked on a loom and woven into thick 

clothlike hammocks on 

principles identical with 

those j ust reviewed. Un- 

fortunately, while Koch- 

Griinberg's sketches and 

illustrations (KG, ii, 

211-214) are clear in 

showing headpiece. 

raiser, level, permanent 

separator, and shuttles, I 

can not understand his 

statement that the hammock, upon completion, is released from the 

loom by a transverse cut, because the headpiece is designed for the 

very purpose of obviating this. 

Fig. 205. — Hammock making. The raiser, on 
being: pulled upon, drags forward tie pos- 
terior layer of (front set of) warps, and in 
this position the temporary separator, 
beater, or presser, is inserted behind it. 

Fro. 206.- 

-Patterns of bar (weft) in Wapishana ham- 




473. T\Tiereas in the cotton liammocks already described the liars 
(wefts) are distinct one from the other, there is another series of 

cotton hammocks where they are continuous. For instance, at the 

present time, the Atorai manufacture hammocks of from one to six 

wefts (fig. 207) passing forward and backward across the warp. 

That with three wefts is fairly common, but neither this nor the others 

similar to it are made for trade anel barter — there is too much work 

in them (JO). They are all woven 

with the long flat shuttle (sec. 471). 

I am also giving the pattern with 

two continuous weft strands, as made 

by the old Makusi (fig. 207). whose 

men used to weave them. Jimmj-. 

the head of Inongkong village, at 

the back of Toka, upper Rupununi, 

who had been taught by his father, 

worked it for me. 

474. But instead of two wefts that constitute a bar running to- 
gether forward and backward across the warp, continuity of bar may 
be effected by running each of the two wefts from opposite sides of 
the warp and crossing them in transit. Such cotton hammocks I saw 
with the Makusi on the Brazilian side of the Ireng River. They 
receive them in barter for beads from tribes, so they told me, living 
farther to the westward. Their construction, though not witnessed 


Pig. 207. — Pattern of cotton ham- 
mock made with two continuous 
weft strands, by Maltusi males. 

Fig. 208. — Cotton hammock made by crossing eacli of the two strands composing a bar 

(weft) from opposite sides. 

by me, is shown in the diagram (fig. 208). Another peculiarity of 
these hammocks is noticeable in the serial arrangement of the warp 
strings, where the anterior and posterior layers of the front set are 
made up into alternate series of (a) odd and even single threads, as 
has been the case with the hammocks already described, and (h) sin- 
gle and double strings alternately. The former have furthermore 
been stained with a blue coloring matter. 

475. There is a very interesting type of now obsolete cotton ham- 
mock formerly made by the Arawak and Carib that appears to have 

60160°— 24- 



had an extensive range — from Cayenne to Demerara — and was much 
sought after by the early colonists. It seems to me fairly conclusive 
that in these hammocks (a) the warp string was run vertically over 
two cross beams; {b) both front and back set of warp strands were 
interwoven together; (c) originally, one separate warp strand was 
picked up at a time; (d) their method of weaving survives to the 
present day. The reasons I have for holding this opinion are based 
partly on positive and partly on negative evidence. As to the latter, 
it seems very noteworthy that there is complete absence of any men- 
tion of special apparatus, e. g., raiser, separator, and their compli- 
cated mechanism, which even the most unobservant of travelers could 
hardly fail to have noticed and recorded. As to the former, this is 
mainly contained in the following excerpts, given in their chrono- 
logical order, from Grillet and Bechamel (1698), Bancroft (1769), 
Stedman (1796), St. Clair (1834), and Penard (1907). The cot- 
ton hammocks of the Galibi (Carib stock) of Cayenne were woven 
on similar looms and on identical lines, as well in Brazil as in 
Guiana. . . . They have a kind of shuttle which they put through 
the threads (of the warp) to weave it after the manner of our 
cloth. But because they put their shuttle through, thread by thread, 
one above and the other below (each successive strand of warp), 
this work is extremely tedious and has need of no less patience 
than theirs (GB, 54—57). Their (Carib) manner of weaving (ham- 
mocks) is by winding the cotton, when spun, around two small 
wooden sticks of sufficient length, placed at above 7 feet distance 
from each other, disposing the threads singly parallel, and contiguous 
to each other, till they extend a sufficient width, which is usually 6 or 7 
feet. The threads thus disposed serve as the warp. They then wind 
a quantity of cotton on a small pointed piece of wood, and begin 
their weaving at one end by lifting up every other thread of the 
warp and passing the pointed stick with the woof under it. This 
they do until they have gone through the whole width of the warp, 
and then return in the same manner, taking up those threads which 
they missed before, and pressing the threads close together (BA, 255) . 
In other words, this description of Bancroft's exactly covers the pro- 
cedure followed on the miniature loom used by the present-day 
Pomeroon district Arawak, Carib, and Wan-au with which to weave 
certain of their cotton anklets (pi. 12), where the presser or beater, 
in the shape of a paddle, is used for " pressing the threads close to- 
gether." Their hammocks are woven . . . being done thread after 
thread, traversing the warp in a manner that a hole is darned in a 
stocking (St. i, 397). Undoubtedly, as time went on, experience 
would have taught the Indian that to pass the single weft strand be- 
hind a whole row of warp threads simultaneously was more expedi- 


tious than to insert it behind the warps thread by thread, and hence 
St. Clair's statement of half a century hiter becomes quite intelligible. 
" With the huge looms of the old-time Arawak on the Corentyn some 
7 feet long and 8 or 9 wide, with similar warp, they would begin the 
weaving by letting off, or rather taking off, the first row of threads 
and passing through it a roller composed of a piece of stick with 
thread upon it, by way of a shuttle, which is then knocked down by a 
heavy piece of hardwood. This is done backward and forward until 
the work is finished " (StC, i, 295) . " The heavj^ piece of hardwood " 
referred to here is again undoubtedly the presser. To weave these 
huge hammocks on such primitive lines must have required a large 
amount of patience and time. Indeed, the last-mentioned author 
goes .so far as to say while some of the cleverest worked them beau- 
tifully ia openwork patterns, in either way, it took months to finish 
one "(StC, I, 295) . The most recent mention of these articles is proba- 
bly the following : " Hammocks with a very close texture are more 
lasting, but are no longer manufactured by the Kalinya (Carib) of 
the (Surinam) lowlands" (PEN, i, 130). 

476. When the body of the cotton hammock is completed on one or 
other of the lines laid down in the preceding section (pi. 129 A), the 
projecting ends of the weft and the terminal loops of the warp may 
undergo certain modifications, even additions, for purposes of orna- 
ment or utility. Thus, running along the sides of the hammock 
may be more or less of a tassel or fringe work, etc. (pi. 129 B), on 
occasion even decorated with feathers ^ (pi. 129 C). while at the ends 
the terminal loops may be interwoven in special patterns prior to 
the insertion of the scale lines. It is through secondary modifica- 
tions such as these that it is often possible to pronounce a correct 
opinion as to the local source of origin of the article. 

477. Space must be found now for a description of the Warrau 
liammock woven from the sensoro variety (sec. 60) of ite twine, 
known as the " purse net '' from the peculiar nature of its mesh. It 
appears to be identical with the chinchorro of the Orinoco (sec. 459). 
I can recognize no classificatory relationship between it and any of 
the other hammocks described. On the one hand, it appears to 
be all warp; on the other, the weft, if such it can be called, forms 
both warp and shuttle. A description, however (WEE, iii), will 
probably make these points clearer. It is woven on the flat at such 
height from the grovmd as may be convenient. The frame consists 

^ Conspicuous among his treasures (the President's at Manaos) were some hammocks 
magnificently l)0iderpd with featherwork by Indians on the Rio Negi'o. The patterns 
represented flowers, leaves, and birds, and the colors were most gorgeous : but such was the 
labor connected with procuring the great variety of brilliant feathers in the first place, 
and that of arranging them afterwards, that the hammocks were of almost fabulous 
value (BL, 394). 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

of two parallel sticks or ropes (fig. 209 A. a, b) fixed either to up- 
rights in the ground or to the walls of the house, etc., the distance 
which separates them varying with the length of article about to be 
manufactured. The hammock itself, pructicall}' all warp, is com- 
posed of one continuous piece of sensoro twine, which, after being 
rolled up into a tight ball, is unwound into its own shuttle (ekobo), 
attached to what is, in fact, a " needle " formed of a thick piece of 
kuraua or ite string (B, n). The shuttle is made of a series of clove 
hitches, one above the other, which are respectively slipped off the 
top of the "needle," according as more and more twine is brought 

Fig. 209. — Manufacture of the ite (sensoro) hammock of the Warrau. 

into requisition. A commencement is made on the extreme right, 
•vvhere the thread is tied on to the frame (A, c). From here it passes 
over both sticks so as to form the first four warps (constituting the 
hammock edge), these being next fixed in position by winding them 
together spirally with a varying number of coils until the left-hand 
stick is again reached, whence the string stretches back direct to the 
right-hand one. Passing now from right to left, the previous warp 
is locked into the coils of the spiral inclosing the hammock edge, 
\mtil the left stick is reached, whence it runs again direct to the 
right one; leaving the latter, the thread on its return passage to 
the left is coiled around the two previous warps. The whole process 


thus consists in arranging the warps so that those passing from left 
to right run direct from side to side of the frame, while those in the 
opposite direction coil around the two warps immediately preceding. 
When the desired width of hammock has been reached it is finished 
off by means of an edge made of four warps wound around spirally 
in exactly the same manner as was adopted at the commencement, 
and finally tied (d). In removing the hammock from the frame, 
care is taken that a scale line is immediately inserted so as to pre- 
vent the mesh coming undone. 

478. Something remains to be said with regard to the coloration 
of the hammocks. In the now obsolete huge cotton ones of the 
Demerara, when the weaving was completed the hammock was 
stained with juice from the bark of trees so as to form various 
figures, which were red and ever after indelible. The trees which 
yielded this juice, according to information received by Bancroft, 
were the wallaba and red mangrove (BA, 255). In Cayenne the 
Galibi painted most of them red after they were made and while they 
were yet upon the loom, the painting being done by the men. The 
Brazilian women made scarcely any but white hammocks, and if 
they mixed either red or blue or green with the white, or all of them 
together — as they did frequently — they worked them with thread 
ready dyed, and so the men did not touch them, whereas in Guiana 
these beds were painted only by the men, the women leaving this 
work to them when they had finished the web (GB. 54-57). At Sao 
Gabriel, on the Rio Negro, the cords of the ite-fiber hammock, says 
Schomburgk. are colored blue with indigo, pink with the roots of the 
mirapiranka tree, yellow with the fruit of the mankaratice, ochre 
from the oruku (rukii) or annatto. Figures are usually worked in 
the hammocks, and a good workwoman can finish one in three claj's. 
They sell at Manaos and Para for about 10 or 12 milreis (ScQ, 
254). In the tucum fiber hammock on the same river the weft threads 
may occasionally be colored — black with genipa, yellow with a de- 
coction from certain timbers, seldom red with carayuru (KG, ii, 212). 

479. I propose the following tentative classification of hammocks, 
based on their order of structure : 

A. Warp and weft distinct and separate : Weft of a series of threads, 
each series constituting a " bar." 

a. Frame: Of two vertical posts; warp horizontal, weft vertical-. 
1. Each bar composed of two threads : Two warps taken up 

at a time (sees. 460, 461). 
2. Each bar composed of four threads : 

i. Two warps taken up at a time (sec. 462). 
ii. One warp taken up at a time (sec. 463). 
iii. One alternate warp taken up at a time (sec. 464). 



h. Frame: Of two horizontal timbers; warj) vertical, weft hori- 

1. Front set of warps interwoven with the back set. Obso- 
lete (sec. 475). 

2. Front set of warps interwoven without division (sees. 

3. Front set of warps interwoven after division into anterior 
and posterior layers : 

i. Each bar distinct from its fellow (sees. 467^72). 

ii. Each bar continuous with its fellow (sees. 473, 474). 

B. Warp and weft continuous : One continuous thread forms a series 

of loops (weft) which progressively locks the warps as they are 

made (sec. 477). 

480. When once the body of the hammock has been completed 
each scale line is inserted in such a manner (fig. 210 A) as to leave 
a number of loose loops {si) at regular intervals. [For diagram- 

E^o. 210. — Attachment of hammock scale-lines. 

matic purposes only four are shown in the figure.] These loose loops 
of scale line must be very nicely measured and adjusted, for only if 
the center one is the shortest and each successive one on either side 
is made longer than the one before it, so that the outermost is the 
longest, will the hammock hang evenly and comfortably (IT. 290). 
When finally adjusted, the apices of these loose loops of scale line, 
i. e., where they will ultimately rest on the hammock rope, are over- 
cast {oc). 

481. The slinging of hammock rope {r) to scale line is done in a 
very simple manner (fig. 210 B) by means of a slij) knot. The means 
of attachment of hammock rope to beam, rafter (6), etc., is also 
simplicity itself (C, D, E), so as to allow of a single pull to free it. 
While the proximal end {p) of the rope is dragged on to tighten it 
up, its distal extremity (</) is pulled on to loosen it. 


48tJ. For slinging hammocks in the open where suitable trees are 
not available, e. g., on the locky banks of the 03'apock Elver, the 
Oyampi use a contrivance known as the pataoua (pi. 130 A). This 
consists of three poles tied together, tripod fashion, at the top, to 
which three hammocks are tied below (Cr, 156). Coudreau rei^orts 
a similar apparatus from the Eio Negro. Or, again, out in the 
.•^avannas, the sticks may be inserted independently of each other 
(pi. 129 D). 

Chapter XX 


Preliminary (4S3). 

The ring-sllng; frame and varieties of pattern (4S4i. 

Two-and-two pattern (485-491) ; methods of comiiletion (492-494) ; how to ob- 
viate difficulties in course of manufacture (495). 

Two-and-one pattern (49C)-498) ; can be varied here and tliere with a few rows 
of the two-and-two pattern (499). 

Terminals of the locking cords (500). 

483. Among the Carib, Arawak, and Warrau, baby slings are made 
on the same pattern and lines as their respective cotton, etc., ham- 
mocks, with their ends joined 

i^~\ by a band to complete the sling, 
f—' or they may be made (pi. 10 C) 
of two cotton bands (sec. 55) 
of different widths attached 
at their extremities. They are 
all worn slung over one shoul- 
der (usually the right) and 
passed under the opposite arm- 
pit, the corresponding arm 
steadying and iDrotecting the 
child supported within. But 
there is a specially woven baby 
sling, somewhat after the shape 
of a huge knitted napkin ring 
(pi. 130 B), met with among 
the Patamona (pi. 131 A), 
Makusi (pi. 131 B), Wapi- 
shana, Atorai, etc., Indians, 
which requires fuller notice. 
For want of a better term I 
have called this special pro- 
cedure " frame looping " (sec. 
56).. It is made by men, but 
sometimes by old women, on 
the following lines : 

484. The wooden frame (pi. 132 A, B; fig. 211), about 20 inches 
long, upon which the sling is manufactured, is made of two diagonals 
tied above and below with crossbars (pi. 133) . It is held horizontally 


Fic. 211. — Construction of Itaby sling. 
upon which the cotton strand is 
Showing the initial 

(a) and 



final (6) 


A . Methori of slinging hannnofks where suitable trees are not available. Oyapock River. (After 


y>, Maka^i baby riny-sUng. 


.1, Pataniona at Maripai village. 

B, Makusi at Inongkong village. 


The Habba basket for storing c!issa\'a cakes. Arawak. (For description sec sec. 43S.) 



^^^■;V ^^^^^^^^1 



^BH'^' ' I^^H 



^p - :,WM 

^^^K ''%H^^I 

- jjpftfex... 

.4 B 

A, B, Baby ring-sling in course of mannfacturc. Front and back views. The lowest and two 
uppermost mesh sticks have evidently dropped out, and been badly replaced. 



.1 , The fiaiiu- is held Iiorizontally on a support. 


;-:^:-.,5.-.-- '■<;■;.■■ 

/^, The franiL" is fixed with the toes. 

Photogia|)hs by Messrs. ThuUu aud Liljewatseh. 




on a support (A) or on the toes (B). Taking a ball of cotton, the 
strand is tied over both crosspieces into a knot (fig. 211 a) exactly 
below and on the left-hand side of the lower one, and is then wound 
from below up over the front of the frame, and back again, care being 
taken that though in close apposition it nowhere overlaps. It is thus 
wound around and around some 300 to 400 or more times, according 
to the taste and caprice of the maker, and as it finally comes around 
from the back is looped 
and tied (fig. 211 h) to the 
preceding thread on ex- 
actly the same level as the 
initial knot. The reason 
for these two knots being 
tied on the outside of the 
frame is to allow of the ar- 
ticle being rolled bodily 
down over the frame dur- 
ing the course, and for the 
convenience of manufac- 
ture. The reason for their being on the same level will be appreciated 
later. Wliatever the number of times the strand may be wound on the 
frame, there is one absolute essential, and this is that the number of 
strands is in multiples of four. It is only for descriptive purposes 
that I am supposing the sling to be now made of 40 strands, because, 

as a matter of fact, so 
narrow a sling resulting 
would be absolutely use- 
less for carrying an in- 
fant in. Two methods 
of frame-looping are in 
vogue according as we 
are making the two-and- 
two or two-and-one pat- 
tern (figs. 212, 213). 
The former I have so 
named because it is a case 

Fig. 212. — Fiame looping — two-and-two mesh. 







Fig. 213. — Frame looping — two-and-one mesh. 

of dropping and picking up a pair — i. e., two strands throughout — 
whereas in the latter each pair is split so that the adjacent constituents 
of two contiguous pairs form the halves of one new pair (fig. 226). 

485. The manufacture of the two-and-two pattern, the easier, may 
be described as follows: Starting from the left side (fig. 214), pick up 
the first pair of strands and, passing them under and to the right of 
the second pair, place them on your left middle finger. Pick up the 
third pair, and passing them under and to the right of the fourth 



lETH. ANN. 38 

Fig. 214.— Two-and-two pattern baby sling in course o£ manulacture. 


Pig. 215. — Two-and-two pattern baby sling in course of manufacture. 




pair, place them on your left middle finger, and proceed thus through- 
out the series, the finger in question gradually moving moi-e and more 
to the right to receive each successive pair of strands. On completion 
of the row replace the finger with a mesh stick (1), press this well 
down onto the row just completed so as to get it tight as well as level, 
and then push it up toward the top of the frame and leave it there. 
This mesh stick is a smooth, flat piece of kokerit longer than the 
width of the sling and yet shorter than the portion of upper crossbar 
between the diagonals of the frame. It is about one-half inch broad 
and one-eighth inch thick. 

486. Insert left middle finger into the space already made for it 
by the mesh stick, but below it, thus separating a front from a back 

Fig. 216. — Twoand-two pattern baby sling in course of manufacture. 

layer of strands, all of them in i:)airs. Starting from the right (fig. 
215). place the first pair of front strands on the right middle finger, 
and, holding the second pair of front strands to the outer, i. e., right 
side (with right thumb and index), pick up (with left thumb and 
index) the first pair of back strands to the left and in front of the 
second pair of front strands (which is now dropped by right thumb 
and index) and place them on the right middle finger. Similarly, 
pick up the second pair of back strands and, passing it to the left 
and in front of the third pair of front strands, slip it onto right 
middle finger, which is moving more and more to the left to receive 
each successive pair of back strands. On completion of the row re- 



Fig. 217. — Two-and-two pattern baby sling in course of manufacture. 


Fig. 218. — Two-and-two pattern baby sling in course of m.Tnufacture. 


place the finger with a mesh stick (2) and, as before, press well 
down, and then up, and leave it there. 

4:87. Insert right middle finger into the space already divided by 
the last stick and starting from the left (fig. 216) with exactly the 
same manipulations of the fingers pick up the first pair of back 
strands, and passing them under and to the right of the first pair of 
front strands place them on left middle finger. In other words, 
to prevent unnecessary repetition the procedure may be described 
shortly as: Drop two (front strands) and pick up two (back ones), 
taking care that the pairs aback pass to the right of the respective 
pairs in front and are placed on the left middle finger. Complete 
the row from left to right and replace the finger with a third mesh 
stick (3). which you will now press well down, then up, and leave 

488. Insert left middle finger in the space already divided by the 
third cross stick, and, starting from the right (fig. 217), place the 
first pair of front strands on the right middle finger, and, holding the 
second pair of front strands to the outer, i. e., right, side (with right 
thumb and index) pick up (with left thumb and index) the first pair 
of back strands to the left and in front of the second pair of front 
strands (which is now dropped by right thumb and index) and place 
them on the right middle finger. Similarly, pick up the second pair 
of back strands and, passing it to the left and in front of the third 
pair of front strands, slip it onto the right middle finger, which is 
moving more and more to the left to receive each successive pair of 
back strands. On completion of the row replace the finger with the 
fourth mesh stick (4) as before, etc. 

489. Insert right middle finger in space already separated for it 
by the fourth stick, and, starting from the left (fig. 218), pick up the 
first pair of back strands, and, passing them under and to the right 
of the first pair of front strands, place them on the left middle finger, 
i. e-. drop two (front strands) and pick up two (back ones), etc. 
Complete the row from left to right, and replace finger with the 
fifth mesh stick (5), etc. 

490. By this time it is probable that with the five sticks in situ the 
strands have become too taut to manipulate conveniently. To remedy 
the trouble push the topmost, i. e., first, stick firmly and gradually 
in between the strands right around the upper crossbar down 
the back as far as it will go, i. e., to a level with the two knots, 
and then draw it out at one or the other side.- Treat the second and 
third mesh stick in similar fashion, always taking care to leave at 
least two sticks in situ pushed high up on the front of the frame. 
Indeed, it is absolutely essential that the mesh sticks be removed 
only in the order and manner indicated. On examining the lower 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

edge and back portion of the frame it -will be observed how the 
mechanism involved, in rolling the sticks over and right round the 

Fk;. 219. — Two-and-two pattern baby sling. Correspondeuce between front and back at 
level of initial and final knot.s. 

Fig. 220. — Manufacture of two-and-two pattern bab.y slinir. Tbe proper raetbod of locking. 

top. has resulted in the formation of an identical pattern on the 
back of the frame to the one in front, the identity commencing at the 
level of the knots. In other words, we haA'e been working in a 




circle, as it were, and as fast as each row is woven in front and a 
stick puslied around a corresponding row is automatically woven 
for us on the back. It is due to this reversal that the lines of the 
pattern, though identical, are reversed. This correspondence be- 
tween front and back is shown in the diagram (fig. 219), where the 
completed article is supposed to have been removed from the frame. 
491. Now work from right to left just as in section 488 and then 
from left to right, as in section 489, and so alternately right and 
left until, even with the two mesh sticks only remaining, the strands 

Fig. 221. — Manufacture of two-antj-two pattern baby sling 

\ second method of lockinp it. 

have again become too taut to manipulate properly. As a remedy, 
carefully loosen the upper crossbar and refix it on the diagonals about 
one-half inch lower, but see that no accident happens in the way of 
the sling slipping off during the process. 

492. You will now be enabled to insert more sticks, and when there 
are only three remaining and j'ou can not introduce another, replace 
them with three strong cotton cords (fig. 220) and tie them tightly 
together with kuraua close to and on either side of the completed 
sling, which is now ready to be taken off the frame. The object of 
tying in the three cords is to " lock " the woven strands, which other- 
wise would open and form a hopeless tangle. 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

493. The following is a somewhat easier method of finishing the 
article (fig. 221) : WHien you decide to complete and are ready to 
insert your last mesh stick, replace it with two cords (a, h). which 
are next pushed apart, and then take a third cord (c), placing it be- 
tween and alternately with the other two, so that when all are tied 
the mesh is locked. The length of these cords extends to about that 
of the sling, and their free extremities are decorated with tassels, 
etc. (sec. 500). 

494. The easiest pi-ocedure of all, however, is what I have seen in 
some of the Makusi articles, where the final locking is effected with 
two cords only (fig. 222). 

495. It will have been noticed that in the making of this particular 
baby sling with only 40 strings for purely model purposes it has 

been quite feasible to insert the middle 
finger below the mesh stick through- 
out its entire width. But in the real 
article for domestic use this would be 
impossible, the finger being accord- 
ingly passed only under as many 
strands as may be conA^enient, then 
inserting the mesh stick and with- 
drawing the finger. Indeed, it may 
possibly have to be inserted as much 
as three times for the completion of 
each row. Furthermore, it will also 
have been noted, as the completed 
rows on the front surface gradually 
reach the top, that the presence of the 
crossbar interferes with the proper 
working of the fingers. The cure is to 
roll the whole sling bodily down the 
frame until the jjortion of the article 
under manipulation reaches about the center of it. To be more exact, 
after the front inch or two has been completed the whole sling is rolled 
downward until the last completed row is just above the lower cross- 
bar and the '' plaiting" continued. WHien rather more than a quarter 
of the length of the frame has been thus completed and rolled down- 
ward and the corresponding quarter automatically made by pushing 
the mesh sticks over the top, etc., of the frame the result will be that 
the whole front of the frame becomes free for further plaiting. There 
is therefore now no more need for passing the mesh sticks over the 
top crossbar, but only to jjush them up the front until taut. 

496. To manufacture the two-and-one pattern of baby sling the 
preliminaries are identical with those of the two-and-two variety up 

Fig. 222. — Manufacture of two-and- 
two pattern baby sling. The 
third and easiest method of 




Fig. 223. — Two-aiid-one pattern baby sling in course of manufacture. 

Fig. 224. — Two-and-one pattern baby sling in course of manufacture. 
60160°— 24 27 



[ETH. ANN. 38 

to and including the stage illustrated and described in section 487. 
Proceeding now from the right, drop two (front strands )and pick 
up one (back one), passing it to the left, and so onto the right mid- 
dle finger (fig. 223). Now drop two and pick up two (each time 
splitting a pair), and so complete the series, taking care that every 
two from the back passes to the left of the corresponding two in 
front. Upon completion a single back strand will remain on the 
extreme left. Eeplace the finger with a fourth mesh stick (4) and 
treat it exactly as before. 

497. Starting from the left, drop two, and pick up two, with simi- 
lar precautions as to passing the back ones to the right of the front 
ones (again each time splitting a pair), and place them on left mid- 
dle finger (fig. 224). 
But as you get to the 
extreme right you will 
find one front strand 
and three back ones. 
Take up the last, i. e., 
e x t r e m e right back 
strand, and hold it tem- 
porarily ( with left 
thumb and index) close 
to the single free front 
one. Pick up the re- 
in a i n i n g back pair 
(with right thumb and 
index) under and to the 
right of the pair tem- 
porarily held ( which 
are now dropped) and 
place them on the left 
middle finger. Replace 
the finger with a fifth 
stick (5), etc. 

498. For the next row work from right to left (fig. 225) as in 
section 496, then from left to right as in section 497, and so make 
row after row alternately right and left on the lines already men- 
tioned until completed. 

499. The whole sling may thus be composed entirely of one pat- 
tern, but very often it is varied here and there with two or three 
rows of the two-and-two pattern. This can be introduced whenever 
the completed stage described in section 497 is reached by starting 
from the right, picking up the first front pair, and then dropping 
two and picking up two, etc., as in section 488. Similarly, a reversal 
from the two-and-two to the two-and-one pattern can be effected 


-Two-and-one pattern baby sling in cours*' 
of manufacture. 




whenever the completed stage 
described in section 487 is 
reached bj^ starting from the 
right, dropping two and 
picking up one, etc., as in 
section 496 (fig. 226). 

500. As already mentioned 
(sec. 493), the terminals of 
the locking cords may be 
decorated with tassels, feath- 
ers, or feather down. The 
tassel (fig. 227 A) is made 
of a bundle of loosely spun 
single-ply cotton strands 
tied at their center with an- 
other one, its free end acting 
as the supporting string, 
with which it will be finally 
attached to the locking cord. 
The extremities of the bun- 
dle are now turned down 
and over, and again tied be- 
low so as to form a ■ neck 
separating head from body 
(B). The strands are next 
carefully trimmed and cut 
to shape, with the ends 
frayed out. When com- 
jjleted the tassel, about 1| 
inches long, is attached to 
the cord in one or other of two 
of the cord is opened up, the 

Fig. 227. — Finishing oCE the tprminals of the 
locking cords. 

I'^c. 226.^Sketch to show portion of completed 
sling with initial and final knots (a, b) woven 
in both two-and-two ic) and two-and-one (d) 

ways. In one, the commoner, the end 
plies separated into two bundles and 
tied in a i-eef knot (C). 
The supporting string of 
the tassel is then tied to one 
of the bundles above tlie 
knot. In the other method 
the ends of the cord are also 
separated, and all except 
two or three of the plies 
tied and cut. These two or 
three are rolled into a sin- 
gle strand (D) and the tas- 
sel tied onto it. 


Chapter XXI 


Deformation: Head (501); teeth (502): lips (o03) ; cheeks (504); nostrils 

(505) ; ears (506) ; sexual (507). 
Depilation (508). 

Tattoo: Face (509) ; other portions of body (510). 
Body: Anointing (511) ; painting (.512. 513) : feathering (.514). 
Head: Hair dressing (.515) ; cutting of the hair (510) ; liairpins, comlis (-517) ; 

coverings, dresses, decorations (518). 
Feather crowns (519-527); caps (528); ornaments (529). 
Forehead hands, fillets, rings (530). 
Necklaces and shoulder belts: Teetli (531-533) : other animal products (534) ; 

seeds and beads (.535) : stone and metal (.536). 
Neck, back, and chest ornaments (537). 
Ruffs, tippets, mantles (538). 
Bark shirts (.539). 

Armlets (.540) ; bracelets (541) : rings (.542). 
Belts, girdles (543-545). 
Loin cloths, aprons, laps, etc. (546): bark (.547): cloth, cotton, etc. (548); 

seeds and beads (549) ; miscellaneous (.5,50). 
Skirts (.551). 
Leg ornaments (552). 
Sandals (553). 

501. With the Island Carib the forehead and nose were flattened 
artificially (RO. 437). This was done by the mothers as soon as 
the infants were born, pressing the head in such a way that it sloped 
a little backward. Besides being considered a sign of beauty, this 
shape was said to assist them in shooting arrows from a tree top, in 
securing a foothold, etc. (RO. 552). The Fapouyranas of Cayenne 
also had their heads artificially flattened from front to back. This 
was done by the mothers with the help of small boards which they 
tied tightly together on their children as soon as born (PBA, 239). 
In Surinam, says Stedman, most of these people (Carib), esteeming 
a flat forehead a mark of beauty, they compress the heads of their 
children, it is said, immediately after birth (St, i, 398). On the 
upper Essequibo, beyond the Cuyuni, B. Brown talks of meeting 13 
Taruma and a Maopityan or Frog-Indian (Carib), who dilfered 
from the rest, and other Guiana tribes, in the shape of his head, which 
was exceedingly long, narrow, and high, and had a most extraordi- 


narj- appearance. This form of head is a manufactured one, being 
produced by the application of two flat pieces of wood to the sides 
of the head of the infant Maopityan imraediateh' after its birth. 
There the wood is firmly bound, until the head becomes flattened at 
the sides and, of course, heightened at the top (BB, 246). Again, 
among the Taruma, this same traveler speaks of seeing two more 
flat-headed Maopityan, a man and a woman (BB,249). It is said 
that the Maopityan. who called themselves Mawakwa, were so named 
from the Wapishana words mao, a frog, and pityan, folk or tribe 
(SR, II, 472). But in connection with the mention of Taruma it is 
interesting to note that Schomburgk some 30 years previously had 
recorded a side-to-side flattening of the head among this same people, 
but was careful to make the statement that the deformity was not 
artificial (SR, ii, 470-471). Outside of the Guianas, strictly speak- 
ing, the nearest people that practiced head compression would seem 
to have been the Agua (as they called themselves) or Omagua (as 
they were named by the Spaniards) of the Putumayo River. As soon 
as their children are born, they put them in a kind of press, forcing 
nature after this manner with one little board, which they hold 
upon the forehead, and another much larger which they put behind 
the head, and which serves them for a cradle ; and all the rest of the 
body of the new-born infant is, as it were, inclosed with this piece of 
wood. They lay the child upon its back, and this board being bound 
fast to that which is upon the forehead, they make the head of the 
child almost as flat as one's hand (AC. 118). The name of Omaguas, 
in the Peruvian tongue, as well as that of Canibevas given to them by 
the Portuguese of Para, in the language of Brazil, signifies Flat- 
head ; and in effect these people have the odd custom of squeezing, 
between two boards, the foreheads of their newborn children, to make 
them of this strange shape, that they may the more resemble, as they 
say, the full moon (LCo, 36). 

502. On the Cotinga, at Fort Sao Joaquim, Schomburgk reports 
seeing the Portuguese stockmen's Indian women with their incisors 
filed to a point (SR, ii, 162), while not far from the mouth of the 
Rupununi, on its south bank, Brown came across a small settlement of 
Brazilian Indians, a curious looking lot, having their teeth filed into 
points like those of a saw (BB, 146) . I have seen many a Wapishana 
boy on the Upper Rupununi with his teeth filed to points, and often 
watched him keeping them sharpened. The same tribe extract the 
two upper incisors of their young girls (Cou, ii, 313) : the fathers 
are said to do this. In Cayenne the girl is said to have her teeth filed 
down by the piai at her puberty initiation (LAP, n, 267). Among 
the Guajajara Indians on the left bank of the mouth of the Amazon 
the upper incisors, in both sexes, are filed {Zeitsch. f. Ethnol., 


1912, part i, p. 41). The Chayma, a Carib stock west (and east) 
of the Orinoco, were in the liabit of blackening tlie teeth from the 
age of 15 with the juices of certain herbs and caustic lime (AVH, 

503. The perforation of the lower lip seems to have been common 
to many members of both sexes of the Carib stock of Guianese In- 
dians, but was not universal. Among the Barama River Carib the 
operation is performed with a porcupine quill or needle by the 
grandmother when the child begins to crawl. A piece of wood is 
then inserted, and occasionally twisted round and round, imtil the 
healing i^rocess- is effected. Though met with among several Carib 
tribes in Cayenne (e. g., Galibi, Emerillon), Crevaux did not observe 
it among the Eoucouyenne (Cr, 115). It was certainly practiced by 
Wapishana, an Arawak stock, in both sexes (Cou, ii, 315 ; SR, ii, 380). 
The aperture may vary from half an inch in diameter to an opening 
just large enough to comfortably admit one or two pins. Occasionally, 
in the latter cases, there may be more than one perforation. Ban- 
croft writes how all the Akawai are distinguished by a circular hole, 
about one-half inch in diameter, made in the lower part of the under 
lip in which is inserted a piece of wood, of equal size with the hole, 
which is cut off externally almost even with the circiunjacent skin, 
while the inner end presses against the roots of the fore teeth (BA, 
266). In Brett's day, some 80 years later, the ornament was seldom 
to be seen (Br, 140). AVith Carib women generally, fishbones (WJ, 
82-83), thorns, or other similar substances (Br, 121), with the points 
outward, were worn in these lip openings, before they pi'ocured 
pins. Males of the same stock, e. g., Makusi (SR, i, 358), Arekuna 
(BW, 245; SR, ii, 208; ScF, 204) wore similar articles, while certain 
of them, e. g., Akawai (BB, 64), Makusi, Patamona, sported a pe- 
culiar cone or bell shaped ornament made of white bone or shell with 
streamers of tasseled cotton, etc., hanging over the chin (pi. 135 A,B) . 
These " bells," however, were also worn by Wapishana (SR, ii, 42). 
They are cut from the naturally pierced mammillary prominences 
on the large conch shells found on the islands, and it would be inter- 
esting to learn how and by what routes they are brought to these far 
inland parts. The Makusi speak of the finished ornament as ebita. 
The deftness with which the pins can be placed in position is re- 
markable. A woman will stick one in her mouth, and in a second, 
only with the help of the tongue, it is inserted in the opening (WJ, 
82-83). From the fact that lioth sexes employed spines, thorns, 
pins, etc., in this manner, it is very unlikely, as has been more than 
once suggested, that it served as a defense for the female against 
imdesired amatory advances. [Note. — The male Mura of the lower 
Amazon had both lips pierced. They used to formerly wear tusks 





A, Shows the leather string (a) of large white eagle feathers. 

B, After covering with the feather band carrying four rows of feathers {b, r. </, e) 
and the cotton fillet (/). 

C, Construction of the feather band showing four strings (a, b, c, d) to which 
feathers are attached. For diagram purposes only two feathers are shown on 
each. These four strings together with 30 or 40 others are stretched like warps 
across two sticks (/), and joined by crossba-rs or wefts (<■). The warps pro- 
jecting beyond the sticks form tassels to hang over the weorer's back. 


of the wild hog in these holes whenever they went out to encounter 
strang-ers or their enemies in war (HWB, 167).] 

504. In Cayenne the Akoquoua had their cheeks pierced as soon 
as they were born. In these openings they kept parrot or other birds' 
feathers (pi. 135 C), which served as ornament (PBA, 15). So in 
Surinam, some of the Indians wore feathers through their cheeks 
. . . but this was but seldom (St, i, 387). In our own colony, 
Schomburgk mentions the Tarunia as having little sticks, with 
feathei-s, pierced througii the cheeks, behind the corners of the mouth 
(SR, II, 470). 

505. Speaking of the Orinoco generally, Gumilla writes how the 
men also adorn their nostrils and ears with various odd ornaments, 
and those who can afford it with little thin plates of silver or gold, 
which they themselves fashion after their style (G, i, 124) . The Ber- 
bice Arawak had perforated nasal septa with little silver plates 
(BEE, 19). Brett speaks of seeing the very good features of 
certain Warrau women disfigured by a thin piece of silver, suspended 
from the cartilage of the nostril and covering the upper lip (Br, 
165). Warrau, evidently of both sexes, were often to be seen with 
these oval plates of silver hanging from their noses (BA, 285; Bol. 
151). With these people, the nose boring, like that of the eai-s, was 
done soon after birth, and the holes kept open with little bits of 
wood (SR. I, 167). Among other non-Carib Indians are the Wapi- 
shana, who. by means of a pin, hang therefrom a piece of metal, 
silver or copper (SR, u, 42), of a round shape (IT, 198), which 
Coudreau would regard as the ancient distinctive mark of the tribe 
(Con, n, 313). As a matter of fact the Wapishana wear crescent, 
double crescent, circular, triangular, and half-moon shaped silver 
nosepieces (JO), but whether all or any of these are of indigenous 
manufacture (pi. 135 E, F) I am not prepared to say. Stedman says 
that the chiefs of families among the Surinam Indians ( ?Carib or 
Arawak) also frequently have small oval bits of silver in the car- 
tilaginous separations of their noses, and sometimes a green or yellow 
colored stone (St. i, 388). Arekuna wore nose sticks of bamboo 
(SR, II. 208 ; ScF, 204) ; the Akawai, a piece of wood (Br, 140) , which 
was often the size of a finger (BE, 32), or a quill (Br, 140). The 
Trio on festive occasions had feathers stuck in on either side (GO, 2). 
I have seen male Makusi with perforated nasal septa. 

506. Deformation and decoration of the ears was practiced in a 
varying degree, but the literature on the subject is very scanty. 
Commencing with the Carib stock of nations, the Akawai wore a 
piece of wood or quill stuck through the lobe of the ear (Br, 140) ; 
the Woyawai (Waiwai) had ear pendants made of forest seeds 
artistically worked (Cou, ii, 379) ; the Arekuna used long ear sticks, 


very handsomely adorned with tufts of black feathers at their ex- 
tremities (Br, 268), birds' heads, chiefly those of the humming bird, 
and a small creeper of a brilliant blue color (ScF, 204) : the Oyana 
have gorgeous red and other feathers attached to the ear stick (GOE, 
pi. iii, fig. 2). A Makusi youth is described as wearing a piece of 
bamboo (ScF, 198), though Crevaux speaks of "certain silver tri- 
angular ear pendants like those of the British Guiana Makusi," 
similar to those made by the Eoucouyenne (Cr, 358). I observed 
silver crescentic earrings (pi. 147 C) among the Arekuna, who told 
me they had obtained them in the course of trade from the Maiong- 
kong, but all these were of undoubted European manufacture. 

In the early days these ear pendants would seem to have been 
made locally by hammering the silver either in the rough or in the 
coin. All the pendants that I saw among these people were attached 
by a twine, usually beaded, to a small wooden splinter. This latter 
was passed through the hole and held like a toggle. Bamboo reeds, 
for females also (ScG, 226), and jaguar teeth are mentioned as ear 
ornaments for the Carib of the lower Cuyuni River (SR, i, 260). 
Island Carib wore caracolis (crescentic metal plates) as ear pendants 
(RO, 446). The piercing of the ears, nose, and underlip of these 
people would appear to have taken place at the same time as the 
naming of the child (PBR, 247). Of Araw'ak stock, the Guinau 
thrust through the ear cartilage a piece of bamboo, one end of which 
is ornamented with the feathers of parrots, macaws, the black 
powis, or, in lieu of the bamboo, they wear the tusks of the wild hog 
(ScF. 225). The Wapishana have their ears pierced, one individual 
being described as wearing a letter- wood ear stick 6 inches long (SR, 
u, 39). The Tarvuna have theirs pierced in two places — one in the 
usual position, in the lobe, the other toward the upper and outer edge 
of the organ (JO). Speaking apparently of the Caberre (also Ara- 
wak) , Gumilla says that the women on days of festival were wont to 
put in their ears an immense tooth of a cayman (G, i, 126). This is 
paralleled by what Pinckard mentions having witnessed in some In- 
dian women at Berbice who wore in their eai*s thick pieces of wood, 
of the size and shape of a wine-bottle cork, not suspended to the 
part, nor hanging by a ring, but pushed through a large hole cut in 
the substance of the ear itself (Pnk, ii, 26-27). The Warrau also 
bored their ears, but no information is available as to the decorations 
worn. Ear deformation, however, appears to have been carried to an 
extreme on the Orinoco among the Abane or Abano females and the 
Guamo men. The former make a hole in the lower fleshy portion of 
their little daughters' ears, and gradually increase the aperture as 
development proceeds. The result is that when the latter is mar- 
riageable there hangs from each ear a circle of flesh which is wide 


A B 

li. Tonr or lioll shaped shfll lip ornamerits worn by Makusi, etc. 

C, D, Cayenne Indians, middle eightecnih century. C, Akoquoiia .show- 
ing the pierced cheeks. D, Palicour, with the tattoo passing from one 
ear to the other. (After Barrere.) 

E, F, Silver nose ornaments. Makusi. The ma.ximum diameter of 
the decoration is .")2 mm. 





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< S 3 


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g S § 




V^ d B 


r fe>a 





H "^ S 


2 fe g 


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o J3 « 

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= S ■" 

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enough to admit a billiard ball, fashion demanding that these two 
fleshy windows should always be without a wrinkle. The persever- 
ance with which this is attained is much to the purpose by inserting 
in it another circle curiously worked from the tender stem of a palm 
leaf (G, I, 126). The Guamo not only slit and separate the fleshy 
part at the bottom of the ear, from the cartilage, in the same way as 
the Abano just mentioned do, but they go farther, carefully slicing 
and separating from the cartilage the narrow rim of flesh that is 
found all around the ears, leaving that flesh attached at its upper 
and lower ends. This is their idea of fashion, and they look on this 
as being particularly chic; and when, says Gu- 
milla, I saw that their captain stuck a letter, that 
I had given him to carry to one of the Fathers, be- 
tween this strip of flesh and the ear itself (fig. 
22§), and that they fitted into their ears, in the 
manner described, all the kickshaws that I gave 
them, as well as lumps of leaf tobacco, I came to 
the conclusion that this [slitting of the ears] was 
not merely a question of being a la mode but also 
served to provide them with a pocket or small 
wallet (G, 1, 127). Mutilations of this nature per- 
haps may have given rise to the stories current of 
the big-eared nation on the Oyapock River men- 
tioned by Harcourt.the Marashewaccas (HE. 388). 
507. Castration was known to the Carib Island- 
ers (PBR, 225). They practiced it on their boy 
prisoners, who were subsequently fattened for the 
table (DAC, 442). On the Eio Branco certain of 
the tribes were said to be circumcised (ARW, 
359), while on the Orinoco special attention was 
drawn to an analogous custom by Gumilla. Thus, 
the Saliva "circumcise" their little infants, boys 
and girls, on the eighth day. not by cutting, but by wounding them 
with a cruel transfixion, from the result of which some of either sex 
usually die. The various nations on the tributary streams of the 
Apure, before their conversion to the Holy Faith, were very cruel 
in the said custom, and extremely brutal in the ceremony by adding 
plenty of wounds all over the body and arms. They did not commit 
this butchery until the tenth or twelfth year of age in order that the 
innocent victims of their ignorance might have sufficient strength to 
withstand the loss of such a quantity of blood consequent upon the 
infliction of more than a couple of hundred wounds. ... So as not 
to feel the sharpened point with which they pierced the flesh, they 

Fig. 228._— The ear as 
a wallet. Sketch 
based on fiumilla's 


were accustomed to make the victims (male and female) drunk before- 
hand, so that none should escape the cruel ordeal. Among the Guamo 
and Otomac the signs of "'circumcision" wei'e equally brutal (G, i, 
118). The Omaiia (Carib stock) at the sources of the Uaupes also 
practiced circumcision (Cou. ii, 161). To become skillful with the 
bow and arrow, the Yaruro (Jaruri) Indians of the Orinoco submit 
to a sexual mutilation with a sting-ray barb which is made to pierce 
the prepuce (Cr, 570). Davies gives the following from the Ama- 
zon : " The man taketh a round cane as bigge as a pennie candle and 
two inches in length, through the which he pulls the fore-skin of his 
yard, tjing tlie skinne witli a piece of rinde of a tree about the big- 
nesse of a small pack-thread, then making of it fast about his middle, 
hee continueth thus till hee have occasion to use him " (DW. 414). 

508. The practice of pulling out the hair of the face and body 
seems to have been extremely common at one time among both sexes 
throughout the Guianas, but there are some notable exceptions. Thus, 
on the Orinoco, Gumilla speaks of the long beards of the Guamo, 
and the medium-sized ones of the Otomac (G, i, 129). Among the 
Patamona on the upper Potaro, below the Kaieteur Falls. Brown 
came across some men who wore curious long thin beards arranged 
in a line on their chins like the teeth of a comb (BB, 207). Brett 
makes mention of three venerable Akawai patriarchs with white and 
long beards (Br, 425). and of members of the same tribe at Coroduni, 
a settlement on the Berbice, wearing small mustaches (Br, 307). 
On the upper Yary, Cayenne, Crevaux relates how the Indians con- 
sider the long beard of the European a most extraordinary thing. 
A Roucouyenne chief, who had never seen white folk, only consented 
to let the distinguished French traveler have a guide upon giving him 
.some hairs out of his own whiskers (Cr, 112). Schomburgk on the 
Kupununi met with some Makusi, of whom only a few had retained 
their beards; and they seemed to be proud of their decoration 
(SR. I, 365). While the eyebrows were equally commonly removed 
(Carib, Arawak, Makusi. AVapishana, etc.) only two recorded in- 
stances are known to me of the depUation of the eyelashes. These 
come from Caj-enne, the reason of the practice being " to see better " 
(Cr, 112), and from the upper Rio Branco, among the Maiongkong 
and the Mauitzi (ScO, 403). The particular areas on the face 
whence such removal of the hair had been effected were often either 
painted or tattooed (Br, 343). In the depilation of the body was in- 
cluded that of the breast, armpits, and other parts (Pnk, i, 5l8). 
With the Oyana, the hair on the legs and arms is sometimes partly 
pulled out, sometimes not at all (GO. 2). Whereas it would seem that 
with the Arawak and Warrau the pubic hair was removed in both 
sexes, this does not seem to have been the case with all the Carib; 




e. g., among the Oyana there was no depilation of these parts (GO, 2), 
while in those comparatively rare instances where the custom was 
peculiar to the one sex it would appear to have been the women who 
practiced it. On the Berbice the instrument used for eradicating the 
hairs was a small piece of wood partially split. Those who inter- 
mixed with the colonists often employed a bit of wire twisted into a 
spiral form (Pnk, i, 518). Elsewhere the hair, seized between the 
thumb and a bamboo strip, 
was pulled out or broken 
with a seesaw movement / ..a^--/ '^'■' 
(Cr, 211). In Surinam, 
apparently among Carib 
(AI?:, 130), and on the 
Eupununi, among the Ma- 
kusi (SE, I, 365), it was 
extracted with two mussel 
shells. No adequate rea- 
son for this widely ex- 
tended practice of depila- 
tion has hitherto been 
forthcoming. One author 
talks of the Indians pos- 
sessing an idea that it is 
more becoming not to 
have any hairs except 
upon the head (Pnk, i, 
518) ; another, that it was 
connected with the idea of 
cleanliness (FE, 45). 

509. Among the Ara- 
wak (SE, I, 148, 151). 
Warrau (SE, i, 167), and 
not a few of the Carib 
stock of tribes, both sexes 
had their countenances more or less tattooed, an operation apparently 
performed soon after birth or in earl}- childhood, the parts usually 
chosen being in proximity to the mouth and over the eyebrows, 
situations which, as already mentioned, were normally depilated, 
but occasionally other parts of the body were tattooed. With 
the Arawak and Warrau, as can occasionally be observed among 
the few very aged males and females still surviving on the Pome- 
roon and Moruca. there extend from the mouth to the temples 
one or two curved lines something like a curled-up mustache (fig. 
229 A), while from each horizontal line over the eyebrows there 


Fig. J2y. — Examples of face and arm tattoo. 


passes a vertical series of bars upward over the forehead (SE, i, 149, 
151, 226). Among branches of Arawak stock [the Juri tattoo in a 
circle round the aaouth (ARW, 355) J, female Wapishana have many 
elliptical lines round the mouth (SR, ii, 386), and I have seen them 
with a complete oval ring and circles laterally (B). The Achagua 
women liad black mustaches "with the lines representing the hairs 
So turned back that when the whole space where the mustache ought 
to grow has been filled up, they are continued so as to cover the 
greater part of both cheeks, and then in a curve the lines gradually 
converge until their ends almost meet in the center of the chin" 
(G, I, 129). [A Passe male, with his woman tattooed in precisely 
the same way, had a large square blue-black patch occupying the 
middle of his face (HWB, 293-294).] The Carib Islanders of 
Guadeloupe, according to Chanca's letter, wear their hair very 
long, while . . . they engrave on their heads (presumably fore- 
heads) innumerable cross-like marks and different devices, each 
according to his fancy, and they make these lasting marks with 
sharpened bamboo sticks (DAC, 443). Strange as it may seem, 
there is no e\-idence of the mainland Carib having their faces 
tattooed — indeed, its existence among them in Surinam (AK, 171; 
WJ, 72), in Demerara, etc. (ScO, 44), is denied — though there 
are certainly reports of its practice by members of their stock. 
Along the banks of the Oyapock, Cayenne, the majority of the 
Indians tattooed, on their faces, bars or lines which stretch from one 
ear to the other, the accompanying illustration (pi. 135 D) show- 
ing their passing from the situations mentioned along and below 
the chin (PBA, 14), for I take it that no "painting" was in- 
tended by the expression " La plupart de ces Indiens gravenP. 
. . . sur leur visages." etc. At any rate, the Akawai and Arekuna 
undoubtedly did embellish their countenances with tattoo. I have 
come across old examples of the former on the Pomeroon, the pattern 
being identical with that observed on the AraVak and Warrau. 
Brown, on the Mazaruni, says all the Akawai had blue tattoo patterns 
at the corners of their mouths (BB, 64). 

With regard to the Arekuna, l)oth sexes had their countenances 
much tattooed. . . . Some of the women had the dark-blue lines 
traced across the upper lip and extending in wavy curves over either 
cheek, but the favorite style seemed to be a broad line round the 
mouth, so wide that each lip appeared to be an inch broader, and the 
aperture itself 2 inches longer than nature had made it (Br. 268). 
Schomburgk also records the face tattoo, from mouth corners to ears, 
of the Arekuna women (SE, ii, 209). At the Makusi village of 
Maripai I saw all the women similarly tattooed with two parallel 
lines running outwardly at each angle of the mouth, finally curling 


round, up and down, respectively, and another line below the mouth 
(fig. 229 C). The Patamona women may have three or four " hooks " 
on the edge of the mouth instead of two, and a straight line above 
the mouth instead of below it (D). 

510. Com-erning the tattoo of other portions of the body there are 
records of its occurrence among members of both Arawak and Carib 
stocks. Of the former, there are the Atorai and AVapishana with, at 
times, a tattoo on the arms (Cou, ii, 316). I have seen Wapishana 
and Taurepang ( Arekuna ) women with a series of dots on front of, 
and sometimes behind, the forearms. Sometimes the Wapishana 
women may have a special mark (fig. 229, E, F) on the forearm. The 
Trio (Diau) of Carib stock tattoo the whole body like the South Sea 
Islanders, according to Schomburgk (SE, ii, 479), but some 40 years 
later they only made some black marks (tattoo) on the inner portion 
of the arms at the level of the biceps, according to Crevaux (Cr. 280) . 
This perhaps points to the possibility of the present-day face or arm 
tattoo indicating a time in the past history of the Indian when, like 
the Trio of Schomburgk's day, the whole body was more or less 
tattooed. Such a general tattoo was in fact practiced by the power- 
ful and warlike Mundurucu on the right bank of the Amazon, between 
the Madeira and Tapajos Eivers. It was these same people whom 
Wallace believed to be the only perfectly tattooed nation in South 
America, the markings being extended all over the body (AEW, 
359). Such an hypothesis is certainly more tenable than the expla- 
nation of one traveler that the tattoo on the arms recalls some heroic 
deed (Cou, ii, 316), or the equally irresponsible dictum of another 
one that the practice ... is used, in fact, only to produce the small 
distinctive tribal mark which many of them bear at the corners of 
their mouths, or on their arms (IT, 195-196). Indeed, at this rate, 
in the former case, Arawak, Warrau, and Carib— absolutely different 
nations — would possess identical tribal marks, while, in the latter, 
each Island Carib at Guadeloupe would have belonged to a different 
tribe. From personal inquiry among the Makusi, Patamona. and 
Taurepang (Arekuna), I learned that the mothers tattoo their girls 
on the first signs of puberty, the alleged object being to insure their 
becoming good cassiri brewers. The honey, with which the pig- 
ment is mixed, is believed to act as a charm or bina (WEE, vi, 
sec. 233) to make the drink taste "sweet." Gumilla has recorded 
how the operation was performed by the Achagua on their little 
girls: With a fang {colmilJo) of the payara (morocot) fish, which 
is as sharp as a lancet, they cut into the living flesh the necessary 
strokes by which the "mustaches" are clearly delineated. . . The 
little creature may scream and fly into a violent passion, but they 
have no pity for her. Wlien the design is finished, they wipe 


off and clean up all the blood and with an ink manufactured from 
a fruit that they call jagua they fill up those incisions whicli, 
after healing, retain the vivid (representation of) a mustache for 
life (G, I. 129). On the upper Yary, Cayenne, a fishbone soaked 
in the juice of the genipa was employed (Cr, 112). In the Pomeroon 
area the Arawak and Warrau are said to have used the spines of the 
" pimpler " palm (Astrocaryum) with the juice of the fruit of the 
kuruwatti (sec. 28). The present-day Makusi, Patamona. and Taure- 
pang women use for coloring matter either rotten plantain skin or 
soot from the pot, mixed with honey. 

511. Independently of any pigment, body anointing seems to have 
been practiced more or less generally thi-oughout the Guianas. The 
substances most commonly used were carapa and turtle-egg oil, though 
occasionally copaiba gum was broiight into requisition. Carapa is 
especially employed for the hair, though in the settled districts its 
place is being rapidly taken by coconut oil. The Orinoco Indians 
were accustomed to anoint with turtle oil twice daily throughout the 
year (G, i, 293), while it was the Maopityan (SR, ii, 472). as well as 
members of his own party (ScG, 251), that SchomT)urgk found 
anointing themselves with the copaiba. 

512. With very few exceptions all the nations of these countries, 
says Gumilla with reference to the Orinoco, anoint themselves with 
oil and annatto from the top of the head to the tips of the toes. 
Mothers, when they smear themselves, do it for their children, even 
those at the breast, at least twice a day, morning and evening. They 
next, with infinite trouble, anoint their husbands. On special occa- 
sions (e. g., a general drunk) there is additionally a large variety of 
sketches in different colors. Every time the husband returns from 
fishing or from the completion of some business his wife or daugh- 
ter smeai-s his feet afresli. It is only with extreme repugnance that 
either a youth or an adult will come out-of-doors unless anointed 
(G, I, 123). Through the use of such unguents, a shine is given to 
the whole body, morning and afternoon. Not only does it serve in- 
stead of clothing, but as a protection against mosquitoes. It also 
mitigates the heat of the sun's rays (G. i, 130). [On the other hand, 
the Carijona of the Yapura told Crevaux that they anointed them- 
selves with oil and annatto in order to keep warm (Cr, 366).] The 
unguent certainly helps to prevent attacks of "bete-rouge" and 
probably chigoes. The oil employed with the annatto is that of the 
carapa, though among the Makusi there may be mixed up with the 
paint the resins of the humiria and amyris, which give a special 
scent to these Indians (SR, i, 365). When a general "wash" of 
the annatto is wanted, the Carijona pour crab oil over the palms 
of their hands, with which they rub the " cake " — the form in which 


the pigment is preserved. The paint dissolves quickly enough in the 
fatty matter and it is sufficient to pass the liand over the body to 
make it as red as a boiled crab or an English soldier (Cr, 366). 
Other body paints were the bignonia and the genipa. On the Orinoco 
they (Caberre and many Carib) would knead up some carana gum 
with the ditFerent pigments and smear the mixture upon certain deli- 
cate plaited strands, curiously diversified in tolerable patterns, and 
then press the colored plait work on their arms, legs, thighs, and 
over the whole body. The result was that, at a distance, they appeared 
to be clothed in a coarse striped linen (G, i, 124). On the upper Rio 
Negro the Indians use an engraved roller with the genipa for print- 
ing the pattern on the body (KG, i, 249) . In the same area, a special 
paintbrush, made of three wooden pencils closely affixed, is employed 
with the bixa and bignonia (KG, i, 174-176). On the islands, in 
painting their little children, they are said to have used brushes made 
of their hair (PBR, 248). Occasionally, the design of the pattern is 
previously traced on the body in black lines (PBA, 197). 

513. Among the special occasions upon which the unguents, pig- 
ments, and other contents of their toilet boxes are brought into requisi- 
tion for the painting of their bodies in more or less complicated 
patterns must be included a general drunk, a wedding, the religious 
services performed on the anniversary of a cacique's or captain's 
death, and always on the return from a long journey (G, i, 124). as 
well as upon the start of one (Cr, 112). There was one other occa- 
sion that must not be lost sight of. The Makusi mothers were said 
to rub the red paint (aromatic) as a ceremonial onto the heads of 
their children, as they were then protected from illness and from 
the power of evil spirits (SR, i, 365) [see also WER, vi, sec. 240A]. 
It seems to have been almost the rule for the women to effect or at 
least to assist in the body painting for the men. On the islands, if 
the wife was not present to assist in the painting and combing, the 
husband expected others to render him this service (PBR, 240). 
Under circumstances of the special occasions above mentioned the 
general run and trend of the body painting was as follows : Arawak 
were painted on the face and on the arms, breast, etc., either with 
genipa or bixa. The women were usually the painters and delineated 
various figures, according to their different fancies (BA, 275). The 
Guinau (Arawak stock) women painted their bodies with a black 
dye, perhaps from the genipa (ScF. 225). The Wapishana had their 
whole body painted black, some of the figures exhibiting labyrinths, 
others grecques (ScT, 69). Warrau males had their faces alone 
painted in lines and terminal dots, while the females wore but two 
bands around the upper arm and a single one below the knee. The 
pigment employed was the bixa, known to them as mubosimo, which 


was mixed with bai'ahisa leaves and haiowa gum. Carib had their 
faces (Br. 119), their bodies, and especially the legs painted with 
bixa (ScG, 226). When they went to battle the women put streaks 
of genipa on them (FE, 45). The females had their naked bodies 
smeared with the red annatto, which gave them the apjDearance of 
bleeding from every pore, and as if this was not sufficiently orna- 
mental, some of them had endeavored to improve its appearance by 
blue spots upon their bodies and limbs (Br, 121). Akawai painted 
their bodies red with the annatto or deep blue with the lana. Some- 
times they would paint one side red, the other blue. The face was 
painted in streaks, in which performance they .seemed to be very par- 
ticular, as the women not infrequently spent hours at the toilet when 
preparing for the dance (BE, 31). On the other hand, such a deco- 
ration would not seem to have been constant, for we have the follow- 
ing description by Brett of some young Akawai revelers met with 
above the Demerara Falls : Young men and women whose bodies and 
limbs were marked all over with black paint in grotesque patterns, 
the mouth of each being favored with an especially large daub . . . 
A young man . . . had produced a marked effect by blackening him- 
self all over save on the nose and cheeks (Br, 333). The so-called 
■' black " body paint described by this and other authors must be 
presumably understood as being the genipa. Arekuna women had 
tlie entire body covered with annatto. The men were similarly 
decorated, including the hair, while the face was painted with 
Bignonia in stripes or spots (SE, ii, 209). Boddam-Whetham also 
drew attention to their feet and knees being painted red and 
their facesi striped (BW, 245). On the upper Rio Branco the 
women may have their hips decorated with figures (EU, 291). 
Of remaining branches of the Carib stock that require considera- 
tion there are the (Roucouyenne or) Ojana, the Ojampi, the Trio, 
and the Kaliiia. The Roucouyenne and Oyampi of the Yary River 
Cayenne are represented as streaked with black and red from tojD to 
toe (Ci', 201). The former never start on a journey without stain- 
ing themselves the evening before, a duty which devolves upon the 
women (Cr. 112). In Surinam the Trio and Ojana paint their 
bodies for dancing entertainments in black with genipa. The face 
is also on ordinary days often painted. The Trio have three colors 
for face painting — tamiremui [? Bignonia], dark red; wiliko. brown 
red, smelling of the crab oil with which it is mixed; and allakoidde, 
black, but, so far as de Goeje knew, the Trio and Kaliiia only use 
bixa for rubbing into the body (GO, 2). The same author supplies 
many illustrations of the various face-painting designs met with 
among Kaliiia. Trio, and Ojana. but no explanations are obtainable 
as to their signification, if, indeed, there is any (GO. pi. v-viii). 


Face paintings of the Tukano (Betoya stock) have been described 
and recorded from the upper Rio Negro (KG, i, 247). At the time 
of the visit paid by Cohimbus to Santo Domingo, when the islanders 
(Arawak) wished to appear full dressed, both men and women 
painted themselves, some black, others white and red, and different 
combinations of colors, in so many devices that the effect produced 
was very laughable (DAC. 452). 

514. Body feathering. — In addition to, and simultaneous with, the 
painting of the body on the lines just indicated thei'e are records 
under similar circumstances of body feathering. The Arawak like- 
wise stick a great number of small, fine feathers of different colors 
on different parts of the body by the help of the balsam called arre- 
cocerra (BA, 274). On the Orinoco, among the Caberre (Arawak 
stock) and many Carib, the flute players and drummers and all 
those who were appointed to direct the dances came out much more 
gorgeously, because in addition to the patterns which the sticky 
carana had left on their bodies they stuck on a variety of exquisite 
feathers in regular lines, white, red, and other colors (G, i, 124). 
Among the Carib Islanders the most genteel of the men rubbed 
their body over with a sort of gum and then blew upon it the down 
of different birds (EO, 510). White feather down was also em- 
ployed in Surinam, apparently as part of the war decoration (sec. 
757). The feather down on the frontal pigment daub of the Makusi 
(sec. 515) must not be forgotten. 

515. They [Indians generally] dress their hair with crab oil, which 
is of so acrid a nature that no vermin, not even the mosquito, will 
venture near it. Formerly they used to smear their bodies with 
the same oil (DF, 239). In the settled districts this crab oil for the 
hair would seem to be now replaced by coconut oil, of which there is 
no evidence, however, that the natives ever manufactured it for 
themselves. At the meriymakings of the Berbice River Arawak. in the 
very early times, the men's hair was cleverly decorated and plaited, 
and mingled with strings of beads, from the ends of which hung 
little images and plates that swung along the naked backs (BER, 23). 
In later times we read that Arawak women wear long hair, plaiting 
it and tying it in rolls on the crown of the head, and sometimes it is 
rolled around a silver bodkin (StC, i, 309) or a broad silver plate, to 
be replaced at times by a shell, a fishbone, tiger tooth, etc. (St, ii, 189) , 
or a wooden skewer (StC, i, 273). That of the men is cut short by 
means of half a calabash or basin, which is put on their heads, and all 
the hair that comes below the edge is cut off with a coarse common 
knife, and thus formed into a regular circle (StC. i, 309) . So among 
the Atorai and Wapishana, both of them Arawak stocks, the males 
keep their hair cut straight behind in a line with the lobes of the 

60160°— 24 28 


ears and straight across the middle of the forehead to each temple 
in front, letting it hang in a fringe. The women also have the 
fringe in front, but allow the hair to grow long behind (BB. 186). 
On the other hand, the women of the Guinau (also Arawak stock) 
cut their hair short (ScF. 225). Warrau of both sexes wore a 
fringe over the forehead. Behind, the men's hair was worn long 
so as to rest on their shouldere, while the women's was just tied 
with an ite string into a bunch behind the neck, the loose ends hang- 
ing down the back, though in subsequent yeare it was done up 
in two long plaits. -Ajnong the Kobeua (Betoya stock) of the Uaupes 
River the men wore their hair long, while the women had theirs cut 
short (Cou. II, 161). The Tiiyuka men wear "tails" (pi. 136 A). 
With Carib generally, both sexes parted their hair in the middle 
of the forehead, and in the angle produced by the parting, or rather 
on the hair itself, they had a thick daub of red paint. They would 
stick white feather down from the curassow or powis {Crax sp.) 
onto this daub (SR, i, 365). Behind, the men had it cut short, the 
women wearing it in a plait on top of the head. But with the Carib 
of the River Caris, lower Orinoco, says Humboldt, a part of the fore- 
head is shaved, which makes it appear extremely high, and a circular 
tuft of hair is left near tlie crown of the head. This resemblance be- 
tween the Carib and the monks is not the result of mission life ... to 
imitate their masters, the Franciscan monks. The tribes that have 
preserved their wild independence between the sources of the Carony 
and the Rio Branco are distinguished by the same " circular tonsure 
of the friars." the cerquiUo de frailes (AVH, iii, 74). This is some- 
what similar to what was met with at Santo Domingo when visited 
by Columbus, where the (Arawak) natives shaved part of their heads 
and on other parts grew long tufts of matted hair which gave them 
an indescribably ludicrous appearance (DAC, 452). In other Carib 
races, on the mainland, variations are also to be observed. The 
Arekuna near Mount Roraima had their hair cut and combed over 
the forehead, and the part thus " banged " was painted red (BW,245). 
Appun also speaks of the hair of both sexes (as also with the Akawai) 
hanaino; full length down the back, but docked over the forehead, 
where it was parted in the center to form a triangle, whereon ruku and 
a powis feather was stuck (App, ii, 272, 307). The Maiongkong 
women, near Mount Mararaca, had their hair cut short (ScF, 
237). Schomburgk, speaking of the Makusi. describes the women's 
hair as being plaited and wound round the top of the head, while 
that of the men was cut short (SR. i, 358), but makes mention 
elsewhere of a young Makusi wearing his hair long and tied in a tail 
with a long cotton string, the ends of which went round his neck and 
hung behind him in large tassels, ornamented with toucan skins (ScF, 


198) — ;in enibellibhment with very likely some special object, unfor- 
tunately unrecorded. An analogy for the probability of such a suppo- 
sition is afforded in the fact that though the Akawai wore their hair 
parted down the middle (BB. 186) and to a length that admitted of 
its falling far below their shoulders, the " head man " had his hair 
bound around with cord in such a manner that it stuck out at a right 
angle behind (BB. 22). Furthermore, such a " tail " was common to 
other Carib stocks. Thus among the Trio it was the men who wore a 
tail bound spirally with a vine, while among the Galibi it was the 
women who sported it (Cr. 278). So also the Pianoghotto (SR. ii. 
478) and Maopityan men wore their hair in a plaited tail which lay in 
a 10 to 12 inch long palm-leaf tube, decorated with a number of 
threads and the ga3^est of feathers (SR, ii, 470, 472). The back hair 
of the Waiwai and Parikuta men is similarly done up into a tube. 
The Serekong men had their long hair combed neatly back and here 
plaited into a long pigtail, which presented quite a Chinese appear- 
ance (SR, II, 253). On the islands the women (Carib) used to rub 
their hair with oil and tie it with cotton, to the end of which they 
attached small shells (PBR. 247). 

516. The first cutting of the children's hair seems to have been con- 
nected witli more or less ceremonial, the meaning of which appears 
to have been lost. The island Carib used to cut the infant's hair 
when about 2 years of age. for which purpose the whole family 
would hold a feast (RO. 554). On the mainland Arawak and 
Warrau at the present time crop their infant's hair as soon as 
it is well able to crawl ; on the Pomeroon It is believed that 
were it to be done earlier the child would never become healthy 
and strong. The girls' hair was cut or burned off at puberty 
in many of the tribes (SR. i, 168: ii, 362, 363, 431), while in sev- 
eral tribes — e. g.. Carib. Arawak, Warrau — both widows and 
widowers had their hair cut short on the death of the respective 
spouses, a practice which in some cases also extended to the children 
(GO, 15) and nearest relatives (RO. 569). Crevaux has it that 
the deceased's spouse can not remarry until the hair has grown to 
a certain length (Cr, 548). Hair cutting was a sign -of slavery (sec. 
775). Fish teeth were among the means employed for cropping hair. 
Thus, on the Orinoco, the Quirruba and others who go without hair 
use the teeth of the guacarito for cutting it in place of scissors by 
fixing the jaws in place and tying the ends together with cord (G. 
II, 207). The sharp bamboo knife (GO, 5, etc.) was also utilized. 

517. Hairpins, combs. — Mention has already been made of the bod- 
kins, silver plates, fish bones,^etc., with which the Arawak women 
were wont to fix up their hair. To all intents and purposes tliese may 
be regarded as hairpins [and it is a question whether the "combs" 


made of pieces of bamboo, mentioned by Bates as securing in a knot 
behind the tresses of the Mandunicu women on the lower Amazon 
(HWB, 243) should not be included in this category]. Of what 
may be described as ornamental combs, though undoubtedly used 
as occasion requires for the riddance of lice or for the actual comb- 
ing of the hair, two distinct types are met with, though both have 
this in common, that they are formed of palm splinters clamped 
between the two halves of split canes, the so-called " bars." The one 
belongs to the " one-bar double " group of Schmidt's classification 
(PS, 1085), and is seen on the Uaupes and other tributaries of the 
upper Eio Negro, where the bar is covered with a fine plaitwork 
of different designs (pi. 136 B). It is ornamented with feathers 
and is peculiar in that it is always worn, but by men only (ARW, 
193, 343). The other (Cr, 250) belongs to the "two-bar single" 
group (pi. 136 C), and is found in the southern and eastern areas 
of the Guianas, e. g., among the Porokoto [Purigoto], Maopityan, 
Trio, and Eoucouyenne. 

518. Head coverings, dresses, and decorations. — Brett speaks of 
the Warrau males wearing very tall sharp-pointed caps, a natural pro- 
duction, the sjiathe of the truli palm (Br, 70). The spathe is soaked 
in water and then distended to the required size (CC, 49). Hum- 
boldt mentions these pointed caps at Esmeralda (AVH, n, 454). 
They were also worn by Arawak men and boys in the Pomeroon 
area, but whether for protection, ornament, or otJier purposes it is 
difficult to decide. Similar difficulties meet us in appreciating what 
was actually intended in the way of construction or use in the fol- 
lowing passages : The " Pamicari " or hat of wickerwork made by 
the Mayangong [Maiongkong] Indians, Essequibo River (CC, 52) ; 
they [Akawai] put the captain's cap upon his head, intimating that 
they would yield obedience to him (BE, 202) ; the chief or headman 
[at a Makusi village on the Cotinga] wore a hat with a wide rim 
made of young palm leaves (BB. 275). All that it seems we can 
legitimately conclude from the last two extracts is that the cliief's 
head covering was in a way distinguished from that of the others. 
Brett speaks of a Warrau wearing a cap made from the skin of an 
ocelot with the tail appending behind (Br, 170). I have seen simi- 
lar cap and tail made from the hide of a howler monkey used at 
the Parishara dance (sec. 593). Special wicker hats may be used 
at special dances, as in the Uaupes Eiver area (KG, ii, 167-168). 
On the Orinoco, Gumilla mentions perukes (peluca) made of par- 
' ticular feathers and very delicate colors used by men when working 
on the plantations or on a voyage. Not only are they very gaudy 
ornaments, but they give protection from the sun and rain showers 
(G, I, 124). Elsewhere in the Guianas, in public ceremonial, "on 


A, Foundation for vertical type of feather crowu. 

B, Vertical type of basketry feather crowu. Wapishana. (Georgetown Museum.) 

C, Horizontal type of basketry feather cro\ni. (Georgetown Museum.) 



fiii/r cAv ^toiir^'- c/eci I/idie/u 

.4, Feather headdresses from Cayenne. About middle of eighteenth century. From above down, 
these three figures probably represent the feather band, the feather string, and the cotton flUet 
of the ordinary vortical feather crown, (.\fter Barrere.) 

1) I ffrrr/ils A tour, 

..'.i/:.' ^\/ari/>tc{tWi' lair 

a. Feather headdresses from Cayenne. .Vlioii! middle of eiglileciith century. (.Vftcr Barn>re.) 


festivals and other merry occasions," the men will don headdresses 
made of parrot and macaw feathers, tastefully arranged on coronets 
of basketwork, which may be held in position by a string passing 
under the chin. These feather crowns or coronets were of at least 
two kinds: In one. the frame was fixed vertically (pis. 134 A. B; 
137 A, B), the feathers, with the aid of a cotton band tied behind, 
standing upright, while in the other (pi. 137 C) the frame (like the 
brim of a Euroj^ean hat) was placed horizontally, the feathers, in- 
serted between its double edges, projecting in the same plane. De 
Goeje figures some extraordinary " compound " vertical hats from 
Surinam (GOE, pi. ii, fig. 11; pi. m, fig. 1). 

519. On examining the ordinary vertical feather-ornamented bas- 
ketry crown of the Wapishana, Makusi, etc., it will be noted that the 
feathers themselves already fixed in rows on cotton twine (fig. 29) 
are woven into a cotton band (pi. 134 C), and propped up by a 
smaller and variously constructed cotton fillet sewn onto them in 
front. As often, perhaps, as not, between the band, with its attached 
feathers, and the crown, is laid an intermediate string of larger white 
feathers (eagle, etc.), forming a sort of wall against which the 
feather band and fillet are kept in position. This feather string is 
shown in situ in plate 134 A, a. Finally, two or three feathers are at- 
tached vertically up to the back of the hat crown. Certain matters 
will therefore have to be noted as regards the basketry crown itself 
(sec. 520), the feather string (sec. 521), the feather band (sec. 522), 
the cotton fillet (sec. 523), the upstanding back feathers (sec. 524), 
and their fixation, one to another (sec. 525), when put to use. 

520. The foundation of the vertical type of crown, like that of the 
horizontal, shows variations in its technique, concerning which much 
furtlier information is desirable. It consists practically of a ring 
band with projecting rim above and below (pi. 137 A), though the 
latter, and invariably smaller, may not necessarily be present; e. g., 
the lazy man will do without it. This band when woven of itiriti 
strands is either of the locked (fig. 41 C) or twilled one-over-and- 
under-three (fig. 38 D) pattern, while the rim is either of a locked 
type (fig. 41 E. F) or of specially constructed loops tied into 

521. The feather string (pi. 134 A) is constructed after a manner 
and on lines alreadj^ detailed (sec. 79). with two or three feather 
quills tied in each loop. 

522. The feather band (pi. 134 C) will consist of some 30 or 40 
cotton strings tied very carefully in close apposition, one above the 
other, between two sticks (/) stuck into the ground. Though the dis- 
tance between these sticks is about 16 inches, the length of each string 
is between 3 and 4 feet. The lowest string (a) will already have had 


one set of feathers cut to size (say, black) attached to it on the 
portion limited by the sticks, the one about the middle (h) with an- 
other set (say, yellow) in similar position, and the topmost string 
(d) similarly with another set (say, red and blue). Sometimes in- 
stead of three strings with feathers attached there may be four 
(abed). Starting from below up. all these 30 to 40 strings are con- 
nected by crossbars (e) — some 8 to 10 or more of them between the 
sticks — each bar composed of four wefts of same pattern and manip- 
ulation as in the bars of the ordinary Arawak. etc., hammocks (sec. 
462). The two sticks are finally cut to a length just greater than 
that of the width of the band, the portions of cotton twine projecting 
beyond them being subsequently utilized as tassels, etc., hanging 
down the back. 

523. The cotton fillet is as a rule made in the form of a flat cord 
worked with four or six needles (sees. 51. 52). though it may be 
constructed of a single weft passing backward and forward between 
the warps; i. e., a band made on a loom (sec. 55). I have seen a 
Taruma specimen where, with a loom-made band (sec. 55), the weft 
passes over and mider two warps at a time. In either case, the 
fillet is finally covered with a sort of pipe clay and its lower edge 
sewn with kuraua fiber to the lower edge of the feather band, thus 
making one piece with it. 

524. The tips of the long tail feathers of the macaw, to be stuck 
finally into the back of the hat crown. " are sometimes clipped into 
fantastic shapes or are sometimes removed and replaced by tips cut 
from white feathers" (IT, 305). Schomburgk reports having seen 
the ostrich-like body feathers of the Harpt/M destructor Temm. on 
the feather cap of the Wapishana (SB. ii. 365), and speaks of the 
Woyawai (Waiwai) being especially .celebrated for trapping this 
bird for its feathers, and so contributing to its destruction (SR, u, 

525. It will thus be recognized that the various constituents of the 
feather crown, independently of the frame, easily admit of being 
roUed up and so transported or cared for when not in use. Wlien 
required, all one has to do is to pass tlie feather string just above the 
lower rim of the crown and tie it at the back, the upstanding feathers 
which press against the outer edge of the upper rim giving this head 
ornament its characteristic shape, and over this, to similarly tie the 
feather band, and lastly its attached cotton fillet. The mode of 
fixation of the three macaw tail feathers into the back of the hat is 
either direct into the meshes of the plaitwork or indirect, e. g., into 
two horizontally attached pencils drilled to receive them. 

526. The horizontal type of feather crowns consists, as already 
mentioned (sec. 518), of a basketry frame (pi. 137 B, C) placed 


horizontally with the feathers inserted between its double edges, 
projecting in the same plane. The frame really consists of two 
broad, flattened rings joined along their inner circumferences, but 
tlie technique of these rings varies and requires further investigation, 
A Warrau and Arawak pattern is represented in figure 41 E, F, 
wliere it may be identical with the upper projecting rim of the 
vertical type of crown. 

627. How far each tribe made these feather crowns on distinctive 
lines either of shape, construction, material, or color there does not 
ai:)pear to be sufficient evidence to show. That uniformity was not 
invariably the rule is seen from the fact that whereas some of the 
Akawai wore feathers in their plaited coronets (BB. 64). there 
were others who, instead of feathers, sported the tail bristles of the 
watchima or anteaters (Da, 225). Back ornaments of the skins of 
toucan, cock-of-the-rock. iridescent beetle's wings, cotton " pom- 
pons," etc., may be attached to the cotton cords hanging from the 
back of the headdress. Tortoise-shell disks with scratchings upon 
them to represent the lower jaw of a certain fish are attached to 
the feather crowns of the Oyana of Surinam (GO, 8). 

528. An unusual type of bona fide cap, on the basis of a network 
into the meshes of which small tufts of feather down and the 
finest feathers of various colors, to constitute the required pattern, 
are inserted, was described and figured (pi. 138 A) from Cayenne 
(PBA, 195). In conchision. the following account of a "cap" taken 
from Columbus's visit to Santo Domingo, at that time i^opulated by 
Arawak folk, may not prove uninteresting : Guacamari then made a 
present of . . . 500 or 600 pieces of precious stones of dilTerent 
colors, and a cap ornamented with similar stones, which, I think, the 
Indians must value very highly, because that cap was delivered with 
a great deal of reverence (DAC, 450). These Indians called this 
covering for tlie head, chuco, and it was worn in battle by the 
caciques, as a helmet. 

529. The Indians of the Uaupes district, upper Eio Xegro. were, 
and are still, noted for their many varied and beautiful feather hair 
ornaments, but as these have apparently but little, if any, bearing 
on what is met with in the ethnographical regions under present in- 
vestigation, it is not necessary to make further mention of them. 
Excellent illustrations have already been published (KG. i, 283. 884, 
325. etc.). 

530. Forehead bands, fillets, and head rings. — Arawak males, cer- 
tainly in the Pomeroon area, wore cotton tassels strung across the 
forehead on occasions of festivity, as well as during the period of 
initiation, so it is said, into the guild of medicine men. The Carib 
of the Barima. etc., also sport a cotton head ring (pi.. 1.39 A). In 


Cayenne, the head band {bandeau) , made of alligator scales, was an 
emblem of sovereignty among the Koucouyenne (C'r, 235, 238). 
Though the context is none too clear, I think it may be satisfactorily 
claimed that the lowest of the three feather bands (pi. 138 B) figured 
and described as houmari and caneta in Barrere's work (PBA, 195) 
is really a forehead band or fillet intended to be attached to a feather 
hat crown. Feather fillets are also to be seen in the Uaupes district 
(KG, I, 283). On "high days and holidays" the Warrau men 
wore a thick head ring of mauritia fiber, to which were attached, 
behind, long streamers of the young leaf of the same palm after its 
cortical layer had been removed for twine making (sec. 57). Makusi 
women wear a cotton overcast itiriti-strand head ring (fig. 18), from 
which depend behind cotton streamers with tassels and powis head 
feathers. They may also adorn themselves with a woven cotton 
band with tassels attached (pi. 139 C). Waiwai and Taruma females 
don a head ring made of pliable bark or wood painted in various 
patterns at times of merrymaking (pi. 139 B). 

531. Necklaces and shoulder belts. — The Caberre (Arawak) and 
many Carib will don for " dress "' purposes several threaded strings 
of human teeth and grinders to show how valiant they are by dis- 
playing the spoils which they brag to be from the enemies they have 
killed (G, i, 124). Some of the old men (Carib Islanders) wore 
around their necks small bones of Arawak (PBR. 247). So also the 
Arawak generally wear a great quantity of necklaces, consisting 
of the teeth of " tigers." alligators, and wild boars (pis. 141 A ; 14G B) , 
which they have themselves killed ; and these they wear as trophies 
of their skill and prowess in hunting (StC, 309-310). Stedman 
makes a similar remark of the Surinam Indians with regard to the 
sash of boars' or tigers' teeth worn across the shoulder as a token of 
their valor and activity (St, i, 388). Arawak women and children 
may also sport teeth of the deer, jaguar, and water haas (pi. 141 B). 
Arekuna sported necklaces of monkej- teeth, peccary teeth, and porcu- 
pine quills, to which were attached long cotton fringes hanging down 
their backs, and suspending squirrel, toucan, and various other skins 
(ScF, 204; SE, ii, 208-209). Such tassels of toucan skins and other 
bird's feathers, cotton fringes with pompons, etc., attached to a neck- 
lace of peccary teeth, were worn hanging down the back also by 
Akawai (CC, 53) and other Carib tribes (GOE, pi. ii, figs. 3, 9, 10), 
but never by the women. Arekuna women might, on the other hand, 
use for necklaces the incisor teeth of the agouti (pi. 147 A) and labba, 
or the canines of monkeys (SR, ii, 208). Makusi men arrayed 
themselves in belts of wild hog teeth from the tops of their shoul- 
ders, crossing the bi-east and back and falling on the hip on the oppo- 
site side (BE, 120). It is very conmion to see Makusi, Patamona, 


A , Cotton fillet. Carib males. Barima 

B, Bark headband with stained pattern. 
Waiwai and Taninia women. 

^^^r^^^^^^^^^^^^^^r ■^^^B 


B' 9Ki^tl 

B '^P'vfl 


^Hf' j^V ' v^Hi^H 

^B'' -^J^m -'Ji^fl'^H 


C, Cotton woven baud. Makuii women. Like that of the Carib women, it may 
be worn both as a fillet and as a neck chain. 








CO a 

LU 2 

O i3 

^1 -^ 

O s 

UJ 2 

Z b 




-4, Carib; bush-hog tooth. Bariiud Rh'er. B, Patamoaa: water haas am^ jaguar tooth. C, Arckuna (Taurepaugi; two kinds of seeds. 

D. Patamoua; carved kokerit seeds. 











* • 

; f 



'. \ 

/ 1 

% V 





A , Wapishaua; abrus seeds. 

B, Wapishaua; aroinatlc seeds as cure or preventive tor cou^zh. (.old, 
ajid fever. 

C, Makusi: gun caps on white beaded strings. 


A , Patamona: bush-hog claws. Though worn as a necklace at time of purchase, I believe it 
is part of a hollow dance-stick. 

iJ, Wapishaua: seeds. 







-^ , Patamona: seeds and brads 

yj, Wapishana; red, rod and while, bine and while, bead-stringed seeds. 

C", Wapishana; with back ornament of deer lail. 






^K^ifJiJL.:<.'3&' ^^^^^^^^^^^^Hl 

^^■EjK'.fJlB. /'''--''^flB'^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^HI 

.'i . T*;ilaTim(i;i: cnl hm iii'ckhnc ;iih1 clu-l nnuinifiil-. 

B, Caril>: biisli-hog tooth. Burinia Uivcr. 


and Arekuna -women, young men, and boys wearing acouri tooth 
necklaces. Of miusual composition is a necklace, from the Essequibo 
or Ponieroon Rivers, described as made from the teeth of the byarri 
(?biara), a species of fish (CC, 47). 

632. In the case of women and children certain of the above neck- 
laces Avould seem to possess properties independent of, or additional 
to, their purely decorative value (sec. 535). Thus Atoi'ai and Wapi- 
shana parents will tie hogs' teeth round their children's necks as an 
infallible method for making good huntsmen of them (Cou, ii, 315). 
Makusi women and children wear around their necks jaguar teeth, to 
which they ascribe talismanic power (ScT, 61). Surinam Carib chil- 
dren wear for preference jaguar teeth, which bring them under the 
protection of the spirit of that animal (PEN, i, 96). On the Uaupes 
River the necklaces made of bush hog and jaguar teeth, worn by 
little children, are intended to preserve them when they grow up 
from being attacked by wild beasts (Cou, ii, 171). Wapishana 
women wear certain aromatic seeds (pi. 143 B) as a cure or preven- 
tive for coughs, colds, and fevers. A tapir hoof might be hung on 
the neck as a remedy for fits (sec. 928). I have elsewhere (AVER, 
VI, sees. 239, 240) discussed the talismanic virtues of certain of the 
neck and wrist ornaments. 

533. As regards the components of the tooth necklaces it seems 
that in the case of the bush hog, only the two upper canines 
are used, and as some of these articles contain about a couple 
of hundred (pi. 146 B), the labor entailed in their acquisition must 
be enormous. More than this, in addition to the piercing, each 
tooth is gi'ound clown until its four sides are square (pi. 141 A), 
and the top ground to a point. On the other hand, teeth of 
acouri, cayman, jaguar, and water haas are just pierced and strung 
(pi. 141 B). Unfortunately, there is no evidence forthcoming as to 
the manner in which, previous to the introduction of European tools, 
these teeth were drilled. 

534. The Arawak of the Demerara employed the spines of the por- 
cupine (Cercolahes frehevsiUs) as necklaces and other decorations 
(SR. II, 499). The Arekuna used similar ornaments (ScF, 204; SR, 
II, 208-209) . I have seen Patamona using bush-hog claws (pi. 144 A) . 
Among other units of animal origin still to be mentioned as entering 
into the composition of necklaces are bugles manufactured out of 
fish teeth (Bol, 145; BA, 257), beads made of snail shell (G, i, 125), 
and (?) cones {qidJUs) made of other shell (PBA, 196) (pi. 147 B). 

535. As a general rule women will load themselves with astonish- 
ing quantities of seeds and European beads in great ropes around 
the neck, across the shoulders, around the waist, arms, wrists, calves, 
and ankles. The most prominent ornament of the Berbice Arawak 


female, according to Van Berkel, consisted of orewebbe,a certain kind 
of bone which is gi'ound down flat to about the thickness of a florin 
and the circumference of a penny. I have seen, reports this author, 
women or hissies who I believe have had 15 to 18 pounds of these 
little bones aroimd their necks. Likewise in their ears they wear 
short bunches of them to which copper plates are fastened at their 
extremities, though these are within a third as great and thin in 
comparison (BER, 20). With regard to stringed Euroi^ean beads, 
certain tribes would seem to have had a special predilection for 
IJarticular colors; e. g., Makusi, lilue and white. From both sides, 
under the arms, after the manner of bandoliers, the Berbice Arawak 
would sling snndry sorts of stringed beads whereof the green and 
yellow are held in the highest estinuition; a bunch of 12 to 16 strings 
is sufficient to gain the finest woman's favors. Tliey also wear these 
bead ornaments wound around their arms in three places, to wit, on 
the wrist, above the elbows, and on the shoulders (BEE, 20). On the 
other hand. Surinam Carib men. just as much as women, wear 
around their neck long threads of blood-red, blue, and brown beads 
{karoebe) . but never green or yellow. Especially are certain brown- 
red l>eads with blue at the openings, the so-called boka [Siianish 
hoca, mouth], very highly prized, as also are strings of arowepi^ ex- 
tremely small, dark little beads which look red when new, oi' are 
made fi-om the bones of the krarin (sawfish) or, it has been alleged, 
out of the bones of soldiers killed by the bush negroes. These are 
called wit- [i. e., white] -arowepi, but they are no longer manufactured 
(PEX, I, 95). [I am very suspicious that the above articles orewebbc, 
karoebe, and arowepi, are really not made from bone but from the 
large fresh-water snail known as kerreketti to the British Guiana 
Creoles and uruabi to the Carib, Akawai, etc., the shell of which is 
ground down to form various articles, e. g., the button at the back 
of their cotton armlets (sec. 540). Compare also the terms "ouabe" 
and " ouayary " that immediately follow.] The seed necklaces of the 
Boucouyenne, Trio, etc., are made by threading drilled chips from 
the capsule of the Omphalea dia/ndra seed . . . the Roucouyenne 
call these necklaces tairou, the Cayenne Creoles ouabe. and the Trio 
avourou. Tlie Roucouyenne also make a kind of necklace called 
ouayary, which the Creoles know as cheri-cheri. These are conical 
seeds broken in two, ground into shape, and threaded base to base. 
The grinding is effected by inserting the broken seed in a little cavity 
hollowed out at the extremity of a stick, and, in a vertical position, 
rubbing it on a stone (Cr, 285). Wapishana women were seen wear- 
ing necklaces made of the seeds of Mi/ro.rylon foJuifera (SR, ii, 386). 
In my own wanderings through the Arawak, Warrau, Wapishana, 
Patamona, Makusi, and Arekuna country, I have observed dozens of 







S i 

5 5 

— o 

O — 

-5 -3 







.2 2 

■a •= -S 

^ E 5- 

bo ,- 

1 a 
§ s 









n S - 


rt -r- 






-^1 ■ 
. ^ 


s e 

s _5 « = ; 

-« ■ 


A, A French Guiana medicine man. (After rrevoux.) 

B, Steam bath f))r Koucoiiyennt; woman after confinement. (After Cr^vaux.) 


1 . B]afk powis foathor lippet. Arokii'^i. 

y- - 

^IHjBu iil^'^fPi ^ 

■/, ' 




B, Red macaw feather rulT. (Geurgelown Miiseuin.j 


(lilferent kinds of seed — large and small, black, brown, and red — 
threaded into necklaces, etc., but, unfortunately, have had no means 
of scientifically identifying any of them. The following are some 
Carib names for certain of the seeds thus similarly employed: afru, 
abia, taputapu, niamtokosi, etc. (PEN, i, 96). Of those that particu- 
larly seemed to strike my fancy were the kokerit seeds, carved into 
armadillos, worn by Patamona women and children (pi. 141 D). I 
understand that similarly carved amiadillo kokerit seeds were for- 
merly in vogue among the Pomeroon Carib. The Surinam Carib 
string around their neck the so-called tu'tig-siri or stink-seeds, which 
by their scent drive away the evil spirit Yoleka (PEN, i, 96). Other 
necklaces noted are made of some elongate aromatic seed (pi. 143 B) 
worn as cures or preventives for coughs, colds, fevers (sec. .532). The 
Maiongkong similarly used for necklaces a bunch of the slender stem 
of a cryptogamous plant, a fern, called zinapipo by them, to which 
they ascribed talismanic property (ScF. 215), It was, perhaps, some 
such secret power that accounted for the following somewhat unusual 
spectacle of a man wearing a seed necklace : On the Corentyn a man 
had hanging over one shoulder a curious necklace of beads or seeds of 
a brown color which were perfumed, though too sweet to be agreeable, 
and understood to be the kishei, difficult and rare to obtain, as they 
can only be had a great distance up the country (StC. i, 272-273). 

536. In Cayenne the so-called " green stones " (WEE, vi, sec. 241) 
were worn (PBA, 175. 196). The Xolaques (Nouragues) are said to 
have been famed for their necklaces of solid gold (Cou, i, 146). 

537. Of neck, back, and chest ornaments there are a few that 
require particular mention. The men's stone neck ornament of the 
Uaupes River Indians (pi. 148 E), a most peculiar and valuable pos- 
session, first described by Wallace, is a cylindrical opaque white 
stone which looks like marble, but which is really quartz imperfectly 
crystallized (sec. 20). These stones are fi-om 4 to 8 inches long and 
about an inch in diameter. They are ground round,