Jaguar skin belt (kamarapicho)


Jaguar skin belt (kamarapicho)

Waiwai people

Guyana, 20th century

A.1953.69.k

What is it? This is a jaguar skin belt, known as a kamarapicho.

Who made it? The belt was made by the WaiWai people who live in remote ridges in the rainforest along the border of Guyana and Brazil.

What is it for? The belt would have been an important part of a WaiWai man’s festival outfit. The WaiWai celebrate two important festivals during the year when they like to paint their bodies and wear elaborate feather and skin ornaments. As well as the kamarapichu, men wore headdresses and other ornaments made from the feathers of mythically significant birds.

What is made from? The belt is made from a jaguar skin. Although the WaiWai hunt jaguars the meat is never eaten. Instead the teeth, claws small bones and skin are made into necklaces, flutes, drums or festival clothing. This belt has also been decorated with two bundles of red breast feathers from a parrot to make them ‘kirwhanee’, a WaiWai word that means ‘beautiful and well balanced.’ These would hang over the wearer’s hips and would move as he danced

Linked objects:

Toucan hair decoration

Parrot feather headdress

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