By Paolo Fortis

Known for his or her appealing fabric paintings, the Kuna of Panama were scrutinized by means of anthropologists for many years. probably strangely, this scrutiny has missed the exceptional Kuna craft of nuchukana—wooden anthropomorphic carvings—which play important roles in curing and different Kuna rituals. Drawing on long term fieldwork, Paolo Fortis eventually brings to gentle this significant cultural part, illuminating not just Kuna aesthetics and artwork creation but additionally their relation to wider social and cosmological concerns.

Exploring an paintings shape that informs delivery and demise, personhood, the dream global, the wildlife, faith, gender roles, and ecology, Kuna paintings and Shamanism presents a wealthy realizing of this society's visible procedure, and the ways that those groundbreaking ethnographic findings can improve Amerindian scholarship total. Fortis additionally explores the truth that to invite what it ability for the Kuna humans to carve the determine of anyone is to pose a riddle concerning the culture's entire inspiration of knowing.

Also incorporating notions of panorama (islands, gardens, and historical timber) in addition to cycles of lifestyles, together with the effect of ailment, Fortis locations the statues on the heart of a community of social relationships that entangle individuals with nonhuman entities. As an task performed by way of expert aged males, who own embodied wisdom of lifelong alterations, the carving procedure is person who mediates mortal worlds with these of immortal primordial spirits. Kuna paintings and Shamanism immerses readers during this feel of harmony and competition among soul and physique, inner kinds and exterior appearances, and snapshot and design.

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Sample text

A crowd of people, mostly children, was waiting for Margherita—my partner and fellow anthropologist—and me in front of the house where we would live for the first period of our fieldwork. Margherita had already been living in Okopsukkun doing fieldwork for two months before my arrival, and thus everyone was already aware that her ‘partner,’ we sui, was about to arrive as well. Our luggage was instantly taken inside the house, and I soon found myself seated with a glass of matun, a sweet plantain drink, in one hand and bread in the other, attentively observed by a crowd of children.

Margherita and I saw fasting while living in Okopsukkun, when our hosts had fish but not plantain, manioc, or blue taro. In those cases the fish was smoked in order to be consumed later on. ¹¹ Machunnat (Musa paradisiaca)—from masi, ‘food,’ plus sunnat, ‘real,’ ‘proper’—is considered the most appealing among plantain species. However, most meals in Okopsukkun were cooked using other varieties of banana, such as sinomas and waymatun, which, I was told, grow quicker and yield more fruits. indb 26 | Kuna Art and Shamanism 10/4/12 4:53:43 PM TA XONOMY OF SPACE The first distinction in terms of lived space is that between island and mainland, respectively in the Kuna language tupu and sappulu or yala.

Thus he blackened his soul. He went eight times in the surpa to look with his powerful gaze. ” The latter stayed in the canoe of medicine waiting and observing. He saw the golden devil putting salt in the trunk of paluwala. Then they began to cut the trunk again, but they were not able to fell it because it was held by vines that were stuck on to the clouds. Tat Ipe called the tapir and told him to climb up the tree. He climbed to the top and cut some plantain, but then he fell down and hit his nose.

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