The high forest canopy is bursting with life and this apron possibly allowed initiated males to connect to the spiritual world through major celebrations. This apron would rattle and reflect the sunlight, which are important traits.
In ceremony this item would have been hung by the cotton strap from the back of a man’s head and swayed when he danced making the beetle elytra rasp together. The tayu bird is hard to find but nests in caves where the jaguar reside.
Accession Loan No.
Collection Class
Clothing and accessories
Common Name
Simple Name
Full Name
ceremonial ornament
Cultural Group
Production Year High
Production County
Western Orinoco
Production Country
Production Area Region
South America
Production Continent
Latin America and the Caribbean
Family Group

bird wing bones; seeds; monkey’s teeth; beetle wing cases (buprestis gigantea/ Euchroma gigantea)
Function Name
ceremonial back ornament
Function Detail
Made of tayu bird-wing bones and seeds, fringed with monkeys’ teeth and beetle wing cases. Called ‘Mother of the sun’, beetle wings are still used by Karibe speaking peoples, the Tukano group, and others for sound and visual effect. Collected in 1877 by Walter Davis for the firm of Veitch & Sons, nurserymen.
Collection Area Region
Collection Continent

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