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Spatula

Spatula

900-1492

Manatee bone

Diameter: 1.7 cm (11/16 in.); Overall: 19.1 x 3.2 x 11 cm (7 1/2 x 1 1/4 x 4 5/16 in.)

Gift of Brian and Florence Mahony 1995.244

Description

In 1492, when Christopher Columbus sailed into the Caribbean, the islands of Cuba, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), Jamaica and Puerto Rico were inhabited by the Taino people. Taino religious ceremonies often included the snuffing of hallucinogenic herbs to alter the consciousness and facilitate contact with the spirit world. Carved spatulas were used to blend the powdered herbs. After purifying the body through purging the stomach, the snuff was inhaled into both nostrils.

See also
Department: 
Art of the Americas
Type of artwork: 
Sculpture
Medium: 
Manatee bone

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