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Karaja ijaso mask and rattles

Karajá ijasò mask & rattles
ca. 1930–1960
Bananal Island, Tocantins State, Brazil
Babassu palm, reed, macaw feathers, Amazon parrot feathers, roseate spoonbill feathers, harpy eagle feathers, beeswax, cotton cordage
170 x 53 x 22 cm
Purchased from Frank C. Napier

The Karajá live along the Araguaia River in the Matto Grosso lowlands of the eastern Amazon. Tall and elaborately decorated ijasó headdress (and an associated set of rattles) are always made in pairs, and represent spirits called by shamans to visit the Karajás’ villages. Strongly associated with summer, or dry season, ceremonies, the ijasó join the Karajá in dancing and singing festivals. Ijasó is also the name for a fish that swims in the Araguaia River. According to Karajá oral tradition, the Karajás’ first ancestors came from the river and from these very ijasó fish.

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