JP Title

Iawalapiti

TRIBAL HEAVEN
Brazil

*Displayed in First World Exhibition*

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The Iaualapiti live in the Upper Xingu river region of the state of Mato Grosso in Brazil. They share this land with a dozen other tribes, forming a sort of society of nations in which each tribe is distinguished by its different skills while sharing the same philosophy and way of life.

Protected for hundreds of years by the hostile tribes of the Lower Xingu River, the Iaualapiti don't believe in violence.

Hostilities are canalized into certain rituals like Uka Uka wrestling matches held during the Kuarup, the ceremony honoring the dead.

The Kuarup is an occasion for great celebrations for it is the day when the spirits of the deceased leave the logs decorated in their image to join the large village in the sky.

The Kuarup is also the occasion for adolescent men and women to come out of seclusion, in order to replace the dead and maintain the demographic balance of the village. At puberty, young men and women go into seclusion in their family homes for 6 months, and those being groomed as future chiefs remain in seclusion for up to 3 years. In seclusion they learn their respective responsibilities.

For the girls, it is raising and caring for children, the art of pottery, weaving and singing.

For the boys, it is bow and arrow making, wrestling, the tribe's history and mythology. When a young Iaualapiti girl comes out of seclusion, her skin has turned pale and her long hair covers her face. The chief cuts her hair, removes the bindings around her knees. She becomes a new adult member of the tribe. She may then marry the man of her choosing.

Polygamy is accepted and divorces, though rare, do take place. The divorced man and woman return to their own families. The girls stay with mother and the boys stay with father. And as all the objects belong by tradition to one gender or the other, there are no disputes over material things.

Kamaiura Belts

Iaualapiti Belt Iaualapiti Belt