Remember the Rainforest 1
Among the instruments to grate manioc, there was one, whose use I refused: it was a piece of wood, in which were fixed the teeth of dead enemies, which, therefore, still served for the enjoyment of the survivor. Home life, with such Indian cuisines, is a most curious spectacle. Most squat naked around, and work quietly, with the utmost gravity. Some are engaged in other tasks: a mother paints the child's eyelids; here, another combs a little pesky monkey that from time to time seeks to steal from the dish a candy; moreover, another, instead of the child, who is not present, takes a potbellied little monkey on his lap; still another plays with the Coati,
sniffing it with his wide nostrils, and raising its forehead, then slyly slips it between the furnace and the fire, - or teaches the parrot to repeat in his hoarse voice: Paraua, paraua!
From time to time a man appears in the kitchen; one arrives carefully with a pan of meat, tries with his finger if it is cooked, or meekly approaches the pile of cassava bread and steals them until some fall to the ground; at the squeal of the women, he pretends not to hear anything, walking seriously from one side to the other, restoring peace among women with the quietest intervention, serving his sweet tooth a bowl of manioc and tucupi-pixuna (chili pepper) soup, in which he dips huge pieces of cassava bread, and, silently, swallows his primary lunch.
The huts of these Miranhas are scattered in the woods, far from each other, but they are spacious, so that, in general, they shelter several families.
They are square, with a pitched ceiling, constructed of narrow beams and slats,
and the barreled walls are lined, like the ceiling, with leaves of palm tree. The “dark room”, where the Juris shelter themselves during the day against the persecution of the pests, called hornits in the Orinoco? I did not see such a room here probably because, during the rainy season, when the mosquitoes most flagellate, the Miranhas dress in a shirt of turiri, very common among them.
Turiri, used for shirts
The hammocks of each family hang in a circle around their stove. These nets, or maqueiras are manufactured in such large quantities that they are exported from here to the entire province of Rio Negro, up to Para (1).
(1) I got a few hammocks in exchange for a few tools. In Barra do Rio Negro, a net or maqueira is sold for $ 500; in Belem do Para, it costs even more. It is said that a few thousand of them go to the market annually and are part of the western tribes’ industry. The Miranhas nets are manufactured, not with cotton, but with the fiber of the tucum, particularly of the palm tree Astrocaryum tucuma or vulgare.
Also the thinner strands of the leaves of the ananas are employed by the
Anana, the pineapple
Miranhas, in particular, for the web of the nets; but this most delicate weaving material is best used by experienced Passes.
The men prepare the material, while the Indian women split the dried leaves on their knee and crush the hull. These threads, similar to those of raw, twisted linen, are kept in skeins, to be spun according to the opportunity, on the farm. They are made of palmwood, and not with strings, but with cord and rope. The nets are