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Ceremonial corn-grinding: Ecuador
Copyright 1988 Max Dashu
Santarem was a major center of art and trade in ancient Brazil. The small seated clay figurine with hands to her belly is one of many created in this region.
The woman in the foreground is wearing a muiraquitã, a jade pendant in the form of an animal. Amazons were said to have collected the muiraquitãs from the bottom of a lake. Legend says that they were soft when they came from the lake mud but turned hard when exposed to air.
The woman is working on one of the ritual vessels for which the Santarem culture is known. These were primarily sculpted, but I painted her with a brush in hand, and her kinswoman is bringing her ochre pigments.
Behind the two women is a painted vessel painted in one of several styles typical of art from Marajó. This great island at the mouth of the Amazon river in eastern Brazil was an important ceremonial center, with beautiful ceramic art and mound temples and burial sanctuaries.
Further in the background flows the Amazon river, and nearby is a thatched Brazilian lodge and, at left, an ancestor image which adorned a wall.
Copyright 2000 Max Dashu
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