17 March 2014

Shrunken Heads!

No, not 2x Obama voters

talkin bout the real deal here...
Even though numerous savage tribes in the southern hemisphere have engaged in 'head hunting' and cannibalism well into the 20th Century -as in the case of Michael Rockefeller, who got lost in the wrong neighborhood in 1961- only a handful of sub-tribes of the Shuar people (Amazon basin in Ecuador/Peru) are known to have actually shrunken human heads.

And they continued this gruesome ritual up until the 1950s, where they got cranked-up on psychedelic tea, marched into battle with other tribes,
scored a kill, chopped their head off, then made a little ornament out of it.
Leftists will be relieved to know that the shrinking was completely organic,
no chemicals of any sort were used (except hallucinogens).

But the process was as fascinating as it was grizzly: heads of defeated enemies were removed promptly by Shuar warriors, at the battlefield. A looped wire is put through it for a handle, so they can carry it back to a predeterimined point in the rear. The religious/ritualistic processing of the head began there, continuing at various campsites on the way back to the
home base (which often took days).

A skilled expert carefully skinned-off the face and scalp -with all hair intact- and the skull was simply discarded.

They then boiled it for 30 minutes in its own specially-made pot before being hung on a spear to dry via hot pebbles and sand, until its about 1/3rd the original shape. The parts were stitched it back together into a whole with a twine and the head stuffed with hot rocks. Eyes are sewn shut so it cannot see... mouth sewn shut so it cannot call for vengeance. 

After they cooked, ironed, cured, and otherwise processed the skin with fires and more hot rocks/sand, another craftsman shaped it on a wooden ball. It was decorated with jewelry and other tidbits and ends up being about 1/4th origninal size, about the size of a man's fist...

Interestingly, when outsiders created an economic demand for shrunken heads in the late 1800s, there was a spike in warfare/killings as the Shuar tried to supply collectors and tourists. This effort was greatly aided by the fact that Shuar usually took weapons in trade for the heads. In the 1930s, one could aquire a genuine shrunken head from the tribes for a shotgun -or about 25 bucks from traders.

Some shady entrepreneurial types in Colombia and Panama have also made counterfeit shrunken heads, utilizing corpses taken from morgues, or even sometimes monkeys or sloths. Today, some estimate that as many as 80 percent of shrunken heads are actually fakes...


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