Jivaro Indians

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Jivaro Indians

The daily dress among the Jivaro is simple. Both men and women wear clothes made of plain brown cloth, occasionally painted with vertical stripes. These homewoven clothes are durable and rugged and can last for many years. The women drape the cloth over one shoulder, sometimes belting it at the waist with bark string or a piece of woven cotton. Men wrap the cloth around the waist so that it reaches down below the knees. A common feature of male attire is the etsemat, a woven band decorated with feathers that is worn around the head. Ceremonial dress is more elaborate. Men paint their faces with black and red dyes. An ornament made of bird bones is wrapped around the shoulders, signifying the possession of an arutam soul and the spiritual power it provides. Here recently, the Jivaro are acquiring Western clothing. These manufactured clothes are often used for special occasions such as visits to neighboring families. The name "Jivaro" shares its roots with the word savage. This named was originally assigned to the indians of the South East orient of Ecuador by the first European explorers to become aware of their existence. Jivaro is the name that linguists and anthropologists have assigned to the Amazon tribes Shuar, Huambisa, Aguaruna, Achuar and Shiviar who share the same language with slight variations in dialect. The historical center of the Jivaro was in Macas, Ecuador. Over the years after the Spanish conquest they migrated south, eventually occupying territory in what is now Peru. Currently the Jivaro occupy nearly seven-and-a-half million acres of jungle land along the Peru-Ecuador border. On their nude torso and forehead, the Jivaro paint geometrical motifs, and they adorn their heads with crowns (tahuaspas) made of vivid parrot or toucan feathers. A crown required 20 toucans! Jivaro also wear collars made of seeds, monkey bones, jaguar and peccary teeth, beetle elytra and feathers, including strings of stuffed small birds, like...
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