Remember the Rainforest 1
examination, made us find that they had congested liver, that was painful upon probing. As we were very interested in these patients, because our own third Indian rower from the Catauixis tribe, presenting an identical anomaly.
He had, in particular, on his face and on his arm, a great number of whitish spots and dots. The man looked cancerous; was very thin and had strange hair growth. Although this skin disease must be hereditary, in newborns, it is not yet shown, until it enters puberty. According to Ribeiro, it seems that it will be really contagious. As to the causes of this deformation of the skin, we can only guess. The Indians themselves believe that this evil is in the blood of the Purupurus (1),
Catauuixis, and Amamatis tribes, and therefore call them chalk boards and pinipinima-tapuias (2). The amphibious life of these Indians, the food and the custom of constantly anointing themselves with the fat of crocodiles or manatee could be the cause of these diseases (Note II).
Several of the settlers present said that they had observed that the water of the river was growing again; but it was only a passing flood, which happens from time to time, during the low waters and before the flood, and which they call a “peal” in this country. The causes of such a transient growth of the mirror of the waters, perhaps should be looked for in the fact that some of the great tributaries begin their floods precisely in the Solimoes, due to its low level.
Due to the colossal extension of the river bed, this greater influx of waters is only noticeable for a short time, and the banks, which once again were a few feet under the water, reappear soon freshly bathed. We have been able to make these observations over the past few days, when the overlapping gullies (or half-gullies, as they are called at the current height of the water) bore the most beautiful colors in the different layers of clay, which alternated in ribbons, some thicker than others (3).
(1) Araujo in his Amazonas mentions also the tribe of the Purupurus, in the region of the Solimoes.
Stradelli explains in detail the skin disease, called Purupuru. He ends up saying that for some tribes, it is a badge and a sign of distinction, and the spots are considered as the images of the stars, with which the chosen ones are marked by the sun "(Note from Rev. Inst.Hist and Geogr. Bras .).
The clay color is unusually varied, violet, yellow, red, gray, white or greenish gray. Exposed long in the sun, these barriers harden so that they could be used as building stones. The Indians use preferably the finer qualities, which do not contain sand particles, to dye their cotton, to plaster walls and paint wooden utensils as an accompaniment to the cassava and fish dishes. We have never seen anything else but plastic clay, gray-green, which forms it seems, new