Week 8: Ecuadorian breastplate

Where do you think this came from?

What was this used for?

Who would have worn it?

What is it made out of?

Ecuadorian brastplate

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Answers:

Where do you think this came from?

If you recognized the toucan, you might have guessed correctly that this artifact comes from from a tropical region. In fact it was made in Ecuador, a country on the northwestern coast of South America.

What was this used for? Who would have worn it?

This is a breastplate made by the Shuar Jivaro people, one of the indigenous peoples of Ecuador and Peru. It is usually worn by a medicine man during ceremonies or rituals, but sometimes these are made to trade with other local peoples for tools or services.

What is it made out of?

It is made from bark that has been painted, macaw and toucan feathers, and a toucan head. Feathers are an important part of personal adornment for the peoples of the Amazon River Basin. Because there's such a variety of birds in the rainforest, with different habitats and behaviors, a wide range of meaning can be conveyed through feather decoration, from clan and status to age and gender.