Vol. I. No. 2. (January, 1903)
A Brazilian collection, pp. 23-27
tended to an almost inconceivable size. They also bore the lobe of the ear for ornaments of a similar character. On festal occasions they adorn themselves with girdles and helmets of the most brilliant feathers arranged with remark- able taste as to color. These ornaments are made by fasten- ing the feathers to wicker work and reeds by means of a certain pitch or resin. The savages also fasten feathers directly to the skin by means of this pitch, in fact, tarring and feathering themselves. Their peculiar weapons are enormous bows and arrows from five to six feet long. The bow is frequently drawn with the aid of the feet and is loosely strung instead of being drawn taut as the shorter bow of the North American Indian. The arrows are made from the flower stalk of the flinta chonta (arrow grass) and pointed and tipped with sharpened bone or wood, probably the bone of a tiger. These arrows are frequently poisoned, sometimes with the juice known as the "crurare" or with the still more deadly poison produced from carrion. The feather ornamentation on these arrows is arranged spirally showing a knowledge of the principle of rifling. They also wield war clubs made of the palo de sangre and other hard, heavy woods. Perhaps their most remarkable weapons are a sort of double edged sword of sharpened wood and an execution club made of a broad paddle-like blade of wood by means of which a power- ful man can easily sever the head from a trunk. These ex- ecution clubs are decorated about the handle with beautifully braided straw or reed and are symbols of authority as well as weapons. They are never allowed to pass out of the possession of the tribe, at least by peaceful means. Some of the tribes make stone battle axes, weave baskets, and make tapers from the wax of wild bees and bark fibre. They are sufficiently superstitious to be afraid of the dark because of ghosts and believe that the soul of a chief may become a jaguar. The Cayapos have no hammocks but sleep on mats. They have no cooking utensils so roast their meat whole. Their houses are small, low, long, and rectangular, the roof being conical; they are built around a sort of public square. The Cayapos are ignorant of fermented liquors. The Indian customs of burial differ with the different tribes. Among some, the corpse is placed seated in a cylindrical ditch which is filled and closed with a lattice work. Among others, the relatives of the deceased build upon the grave a high cone of earth which they make as hard as possible by patting with their hands. Naturally, this monument does not long stand against the weather. Other tribes bury their dead fellow tribesmen in a canoe or jar under his house, throw away his property and abandon his house forever.
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