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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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Cupati, to its south-west, the gaze follows it upstream in a great curve towards the north; and below the waterfall, glittering through the groves to the southeast, in various spaces.

In the other band of Cupati, the Apaporis winds around the mountain, and is visible in the near distance. I was able to recognize both of its first waterfalls.

Waterfalls of Rio Apaporis

In the northern direction, I could distinguish in three successive rows the low, extensive, wooded hills of the Upper Apaporis, the Tiquie and the Uaupes, and, further on, the isolated mountains of Sao Joaquim. A few columns of smoke, rising out of the immense green forest on the interminable plain, were the immeasurable remnants of people in that dreadful solitude. In the calm morning wind, a swarm of little bees appeared to us, which had no anger, but, by the boldness with which they thrust themselves at our ears and eyes, they became a true plague.

In addition, it was not possible to continue the march in that soil of vegetal rotting; we returned to the river and traveled with happiness to the little waterfall, which, however, was also crossed by the other canoes, and we gathered the crew that was just then occupied with some profitable fishery. The low water level here allowed me to examine the gypsum rocks

Gypsum

on the southern bank of the river, and I found engraved figures, similar to those of Araraquara, only in much greater quantity. Almost all the smooth faces of the rocks have these carved sculptures; and if I did not admire them much as works of art, at the very least, I was surprised by their extraordinary extension, occupying in some places more than 100 square feet, in another smaller number, and then the figures appeared again, similarly close together and then stretched out afar.

Most of what I saw were the earliest attempts at human representation. They were figures of animals, the sun, the moon and special instruments to prepare cassava flour; nothing, however, that I found there resembled the sculptures on the granite rocks of Caiacra in the Orinoco,

Caiacra in the Orinoco

Petroglyphs of Culimacare in the Caciquiare

and of Culimacare in the Caciquiare, as described by Mr. von Humboldt.

Humboldt-Bonpland expedition

It was interesting to observe the different means that the artist's simplicity had adopted, to obtain the effect of similarity of people. The head was what most worried me : eyes, nose and mouth are in different ways figured by points and lines or places in white. The ends are more simply drawn; in the hands and feet usually three fingers. In the body, certain parts are rarely omitted. Many of these figures are tucked into a square. In addition to these, there are also those already mentioned above; one or several squares close to one another, in which a spiral line runs. The sculptures are engraved with three to six deep lines; each of different proportions, over an extension averaging

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