Sunday, January 29, 2012

Museo de Pumapungo

In Cuenca, I checked out the Museo de Pumapungo (aka The Museum of the Central Bank). There were a number of ethnographic displays about different people groups in Ecuador, but what I really found interesting was this display of wooden masks. If you look at them long enough, they appear to look back.

This last one isn't a mask, it's a tsantsa (shrunken head). Seems that the Shuar people group in the Amazon use to have a cultural practice of making tsantsa. When someone was murdered the way of restoring balance to the universe was for the offended family to kill and shrink the head of the offender.

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