Matsés Medium Lance

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Handcarved Wood. Natural Pigment.
$ 190.00 USD
$ 190.00 USD
Buy now

These lances come from the most remote of the Matsés communities. Both the lances and arrows are made by the male elders. Presented here is a medium version of the full size the Matsés use for hunting and ceremony. Each are meticulously hand-carved from peach palm and finished with homespun cotton string that is naturally dyed with ‘Achiote’ seed.

Dimensions (approximate): 106cm

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Matsés

Art is of central importance in Matsés culture and identity. They have an incredibly fine and detailed artistic process and these items are used in their everyday lives. If this ancestral wisdom continues to thrive, so can the cultural identity of the Matsés.

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CERAMICS

Ceramics in the Matsés is a purely female practice and a vital piece of ancestral memory. Our vision is to ensure this ancient technique is not lost by transmitting the ceramic process to younger Matsés.

THE PROCESS:

  1. A particular type of whitish clay is collected from the bed of a small stream outside of the village, and strips of bark are peeled from a tree called “mui”.
  2. When back in the village the “mui” bark is burnt and then the silvery ash is sifted into a fine powder and mixed with the clay.
  3. With the clay and ash mixed it is then rolled and constructed using the traditional coil technique as the ceramics take their form.
  4. The ceramic is then shaped with the shell of a freshwater clam and then the outside is smoothed with the coin-shaped seed of a liana which the Matsés call “pupu ëshë”,“owl eye”.
  5. Finally, it is dried in the sun for a few hours before placing on the open fire to set.
JEWELRY
UITSUN BRACELET

The Uitsun bracelet is a product specific to the Matsés. They are woven from either natural home spun cotton or chambira palm fibre on a rustic loom and and can include painted designs derived from natural pigments. In Matsés culture, these are tied on the wrist or ankle as adornment and/or as a gesture of friendship. A sister puts on her little brother’s ankle ornament by slipping the knotted ends through little loops. As she grows, a girl will weave for her brother, her husband and then for her children, just as the boy will grow to ask for ornaments from his mother, his sister, and eventually his wife.

In 2017, we developed a sustainable and economically viable handicraft project with Acate Amazon Conservation that aims to involve as many villages and craftspersons as possible across the wide Matsés territory, allowing us to work with over 100+ Matsés women in 10+ villages.



TEXTILES
HUNTING
LANCES AND ARROWS

Coming from the most remote Matsés communities, the lances and arrows are made by the elder men; mostly remaining shamans, using a fine and detailed artistic process. The lances are commonly used by the Matsés for hunting and ceremony. The lances are made of peach palm (Bactris gasipaes) while the arrows are made from bamboo, both adorned with homespun cotton string dyed with ‘Achiote’. The feathers used at the tip of the arrows are from Curassow or Harpy Eagle.

Ancestral hunting practices throughout the Amazon are quickly disappearing as knowledge is forgotten and shotguns replace traditional hunting tools. The Matsés unlike many other ethnic groups in the Amazon still use traditional hunting tools, most noticeably the bow and arrow.

NATURAL PRODUCTS
MATSÉS NËNË

Made from rustica tobacco, mocambo, and cacahuillo, nënë is a snuff (rapé) that is used in ceremonies and to prepare Matsés men for successful hunting, enhancing visions and sharpening senses. Bringing calmness, clarity, and focus, the hunting recipient has visions of the location of the game in the surrounding forest. To prepare the snuff, the powdered roasted leaves of mapacho (rustic tobacco) are mixed with alkaline ashes of the inner bark of the mocambo tree (wild cacao) or cacahuillo tree. The prepared snuff is blown up the nostrels through an applicator, individually or shared between friends. A Matsés man may receive as many as four doses of Nënë in each nostril.

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