Chicha beer bowl

Chicha beer bowl

Shuar people

Morona-Santiago, Ecuador, 21st century


What is it and what is it made of? This bowl is made out of a gourd that has been cut in half and decorated.

Who made it? It was made by people of the Shuar community of Buena Esperanza in Ecuador.

What was it used for? It was used to hold a type of homemade beer called chicha during a ceremony where chicha was given by the women of Buena Esperanza to visitors from another Shuar village.

What is chicha? Chicha is a drink found all through the Amazon region. It can be made out of any starchy food. Shuar women make their chicha out of cassava (yuca), maize or the fruit of the Chontaduro palm. The starch is first boiled, then mashed and stirred in a big bucket until it is soft. While she is stirring the mixture, the woman chews handfuls of the mash and spits it back into the bucket. The Shuar say that this helps ferment the beer and makes it taste better.

Linked objects:

Chontaduro palm

Cassava tuber

Ceramic bowl