website content

Crown of bird feathers

Part of the collection: Crafts of the Amazon Indians

Popularization note

Crowns made of bird feathers, called fwemi by the Ye'kuana Indians, were made for ceremonial occasions. Men wore them, among others, during the annual agrarian festival called conuco. According to Ye'kuana mythology, the crown worn during the festival commemorated the act of planting the first conuco - a plot of land that gave rise to Ye'kuana agriculture. Fwemi consists of two concentric circles - the outer one is made of feathers from the ara, parrot, great harpy, and plover, while the inner one is made of carefully twisted ka'na from stiff fibres. The outer circle is associated with nature, while the inner circle symbolises the orderly world of the Ye'kuan Indians, which stands in opposition to the natural world - the wild tropical forest. The symbolism of these concentric circles is significant to the Ye'kuan. It is also observed in the establishment of plots and the construction of large, round ëttë communal huts. The crowns, epaulettes, amulets, necklaces and earrings worn by the Ye'kuan are not just decorative items; they often symbolise the exchange process between the world of humans and the world of supernatural forces. Indians believe that these two worlds interpenetrate each other, and the handicrafts that they make guard this order. In the Ye'kuan culture, feather ornaments, patterns covering Indian bodies, and hairstyles also indicate social status and membership of an age and gender group. Nowadays, the crown is worn when representing the community outside and during important internal ceremonies. Among the most influential personalities of Ye'kuan are the shaman, members of the council of elders and the chief of the village, who watches over the organisation of the community's social life. He does not make decisions on his own. Matters concerning life in the village are consulted at meetings with the council of elders.

Katarzyna Findlik-Gawron

Information about the object

Information about this object

Author / creator

Ye'kuana (Makiritare)


cały obiekt: height: 59 cm

Object type


Creation time / dating

około 1980 — 1985

Creation / finding place

powstanie: Kumashiña (Wenezuela); znalezienie: Kumashiña (Wenezuela)

Identification number


Location / status

object is not displayed now

You might also like:

Add note

Edit note


Jakiś filtr
Data od:
Data do: