The jaguar-flute and other Wauja aerophones: a Xinguano contribution to the instrumentarium zoologica Amazonia

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Abstract

Recent ethnomusicological studies on Xinguano flutes reveal systems of extraordinary sociological, symbolic, and sonic complexity, encompassing musical poetics, gender relations, political ontology, and cosmological agency. However, little is known about their specific spiritual identities and their implications for the symbolic economy of musical rituals. This article aims to contribute to the knowledge of the instrumentarium zoologica Amazonia based on Wauja musical and visionary-divinatory shamanic knowledge and practices. The central object of this analysis is a trio of wooden flutes, made in 1991 and still active, which has the jaguar as spiritual identity and whose identification derives from shamanic processes. This relationship between aerophones and jaguars points to the recently proposed theoretical model of ontological continuity between supernatural beings and artifacts in Amazonia. Although organology and materiality are important for understanding this relationship, there is, however, an aspect still little considered by this model: visuality. This article proposes to enhance the hypothesis that the attribution of spiritual identities to aerophones directly relates to how shamans imagine bodily transformations.
Translated title of the contributionThe jaguar-flute and other Wauja aerophones: a Xinguano contribution to the instrumentarium zoologica Amazonia
Original languagePortuguese
Article numbere20200127
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages20
JournalBoletim do Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi. Ciências Humanas
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Amazonia
  • Musical instruments
  • visual culture
  • Wauja Indians
  • Shamanism
  • Cosmology
  • Indigenous Amazonia
  • Wauja
  • Ritual
  • Visuality
  • Aerophones

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