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  • Yagua Blow Gun

    I found this blow gun sticking out of a trash can over near the mission and recognized it right away as being a Yagua blow gun. The channel for the dart to pass through was carved first with a Capybara tooth fastened to the end of a pole (similar looking to an Ishi stick). After the two sides were tied together with pitch tar and bark, a long rod with sand was used to finish up the dart channel. I've included a picture of the Capybara teeth that my Ashanika friends shot and ate. They gave me some and it tasted like chewy beef.

  • #2
    Some more pictures.

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    • #3
      Not your everyday find, Thanks for sharing this.
      Searching the fields of Northwest Indiana and Southwestern Michigan

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      • #4
        And I almost forgot that I have a Yagua bag as well. Made from from palm fibers and dyed with the same kind of bark that the blow gun is wrapped with (the dark brown areas are dyed). They used the bags for everything including bringing home the monkey meal.
        Click image for larger version

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        • #5
          Great. do you know it's age? Kim
          Knowledge is about how and where to learn more Knowledge that you seek. Snyder County Pa.

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          • Narrow Way Knapper
            Narrow Way Knapper commented
            Editing a comment
            I'm guessing that missionarys brought it back from either Peru or Colombia in the 1970's or 1980's

        • #6
          Nice save but I'll pass on monkey meat before or after they burn the hair off lol .

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          • Narrow Way Knapper
            Narrow Way Knapper commented
            Editing a comment
            What, are you afraid the monkey meat might climb back up after swallowing? LOL!

        • #7
          Very cool and what a great find!

          This information from the Spurlock Museum of World Cultures at Illinois:

          Yagua Blowgun

          The pucuna, blowgun, is a weapon used by some indigenous people of South America for hunting. The tribe that [this particular] pucuna belongs to is the Yagua people of Peru and Colombia. The Yagua people use the pucuna particularly for hunting monkeys, tree porcupines, pacas, sloths, and birds.

          The way that each pucuna is made is different for each tribe. When making the pucuna, the Yagua people take extreme care because this is their main resource for hunting. Yagua pucunas are visually unique because they are wrapped with the root skins from the huambe plant, a kind of philodendron, and no two blowguns or dart canisters are the same. Often, there is an expert craftsman for each component of the blowgun.

          Using a blowgun takes a lot of practice. The darts are usually carried in a woven canister and are generally sharpened with piranha teeth. The darts are dipped in a special poison called curare. The poison produces muscle paralysis by interfering with the transmission of nerve impulses at the receptor sites of all skeletal muscles. The effects of the poison do not take an animal down right away, as is often shown in movies. For a small mammal to fully lose consciousness or die it can take up to ten minutes.

          The length of the blowgun itself is a large factor in the distance that the poison darts can travel. [This particular] blowgun is slightly more then 7.5 feet long. [This] blowgun may be able to shoot as far as approximately 325 feet at a velocity of 425 feet per second. This is 289 miles per hour, more than twice the speed of the fastest baseball pitcher.


          Here’s me trying my luck with a different kind of blowgun some years ago during a visit to an Iban village in West Kalimantan.


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          Last edited by painshill; 04-26-2021, 06:43 PM.
          I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.

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          • Narrow Way Knapper
            Narrow Way Knapper commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks for your input Painshill. I was hoping you would chime in. I actually found a total of three blowguns in the trash can. The other two look quite different from the one I recognized. One is very short I was guessing a child's. I'll try to get some decent pictures some time.

        • #8
          Very cool... thanks for the show...
          heck, I’d try a li’l monkey... lol...🐒
          Southeastern Minnesota’s driftless area

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          • #9
            Very cool man....thanks for sharing.....one persons trash is another persons treasure...thats awesome 👍
            Benny / Western Highland Rim / Tennessee

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            • Narrow Way Knapper
              Narrow Way Knapper commented
              Editing a comment
              I'm guessing that the missionary either died and family members chucked it in the trash, or they were moving to a nursing home and figured it wouldn't be allowed.

          • #10
            That's a great artifact! I'll pass on the monkey, lol.
            South Carolina

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            • Narrow Way Knapper
              Narrow Way Knapper commented
              Editing a comment
              Well, so much for my plans to open a chain of Monkey meat restaurants. 😉

          • #11
            Cool post knapper!
            SW Connecticut

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            • #12
              Side note: Capybara is a deliciously large guinea pig looking creature. We ate it a lot when we lived in Venezuela. It's usually dried and salted, and then pounded and cooked so it's not too different than some dried cod/bacalao or cheap canned tuna if it's doctored up. Fresh it's a bit like pork, but can be really gamey if any of the greasy fat under the skin is left on.

              It's a popular Easter/Lent meal in many Catholic countries where they are supposed to avoid meat during certain celebrations. In the 1600's people described the animal to an Archbishop, and since it lives in and around water & has webbed toes, it was classified as a fish and therefore edible during lent! (I think beavers were classified as fish in Poland for Catholics for a while.)

              Big Anacondas are built to eat them, where you find one you almost always find the other. (Most kids on cattle ranches know not to swim in ponds where there are capybara.)
              Hong Kong, but from Indiana/Florida

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              • #13
                Very cool NWK thinking I need to include trash cans on my hunting excursions.
                N.C. from the mountains to the sea

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                • #14
                  I’m with Marshall. Going to start dumpster diving.
                  South Dakota

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                  • #15
                    Originally posted by clovisoid View Post
                    Side note: Capybara is a deliciously large guinea pig looking creature. We ate it a lot when we lived in Venezuela. It's usually dried and salted, and then pounded and cooked so it's not too different than some dried cod/bacalao or cheap canned tuna if it's doctored up. Fresh it's a bit like pork, but can be really gamey if any of the greasy fat under the skin is left on.

                    It's a popular Easter/Lent meal in many Catholic countries where they are supposed to avoid meat during certain celebrations. In the 1600's people described the animal to an Archbishop, and since it lives in and around water & has webbed toes, it was classified as a fish and therefore edible during lent! (I think beavers were classified as fish in Poland for Catholics for a while.)

                    Big Anacondas are built to eat them, where you find one you almost always find the other. (Most kids on cattle ranches know not to swim in ponds where there are capybara.)
                    Yes, historic decisions from the Catholic Church were often driven by necessity rather than zoology. The dispensation that eating beaver meat was acceptable on Fridays in Lent first arose in the 17th Century in Canada when Francois de Laval (the first bishop of Quebec) put the question to his superiors in Paris.

                    There have been numerous other ‘local’ decisions, including for capybara, but also reptilian animals with a predominantly aquatic lifestyle such as alligators and also things like muskrat and birds such as the puffin. The decision on capybara was later ratified (perhaps a poor choice of word) by a Papal Bull in 1784 and still stands today, as does the decision for beavers. The Pope only had a second-hand description to go on.

                    Stretching things a little further, when St. Patrick’s Day happens to fall on a Friday in Lent there have been dispensations that the traditional Irish Corned Beef & Cabbage is acceptable, albeit in some cases with a requirement for a day of penance.

                    I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.

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