basket (containers)

1969.67

This mid-20th century basketry vanity box from the Mawayana culture has a supportive framework covered with cane and a case with an overall geometric pattern in dark brown. Attached to the frame is a carrying string and twisted cords with red parrot feathers at the ends. Nicholas Guppy (1928-2012) collected this vanity basket, known as pakara to the Wai Wai, during his expedition to Southern Guyana and Northern Brazil in the 1950s. This particular basket vanity box is from Shiuru-tirir, Brazil. It demonstrates the great skill of Wai Wai craftspeople. The pakara are made of mukru palm leaves, which are of different colours. The patterns on the pakara vary; this one has patterns on the sides and at the top with a plain lower part to highlight the contrast. The patterns here represent two squirrels chasing a frog that is seen in the middle. The frog has a squirrel's teeth, shown here by the U-shape. Their long S-shaped tails and body markings identify the squirrels. The lines below the squirrels represent the edible ite fruit. The small black crosses at the top are teeth, yawariyoru, of the opossum (yawari). On the other side of the basket we find the vertical caterpillar, oroku, designs. Below the design are two lines representing ite fruit skin and kernels, respectively. The pattern at the top of the pakara represents the pattern found on the skin of the paruko fish. The details include the tail and head of the fish.

Collection Information

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