Amazonian Maku Blowpipe or Blowgun with Quiver and Darts

Item AC1    

This Item was Sold on 20 November 2014 for $310

Similar artifacts for sale are often found on the South American Artifacts web page.

Historical Pricing information for this item and similar artifacts can be found at: Historical Artifact Prices.

This blowgun ( blow gun or blowpipe ) was collected in the Rio Negro region of the Amazon. It was made by the Maku Indians who live in NW Brazil, near Peru. I acquired this blowgun from a Dentist from California in the early 1990s. He collected it as a young man in the 1950s or early 1960s. This type of blowgun was used by the indigenous people to hunt birds, monkeys, sloths and other small games. The length is more than 7 feet. This is an artifact, the real thing and not something made for tourists. There are two tubes. The exterior of the outer tube is held with both hands and the inner tube has a small bore diameter for the effective propulsion of a dart when the hunter blow's on the tube. There is a hardwood mouthpiece on one end that fits over the exterior of the inner tube and acts as an interface to hold the two tubes together.

Blowgun: Length = 234 cm (7+ ft) ; Weight = 1356 gm

The dart case is a work of art. It is made out of bark cloth with a protective flap to protect the darts from moisture. There are approximately 40 darts in the quiver and, the terminus of each is wrapped with Kapok, a material similar to cotton. The darts are made using palmwood splinters that taper to a sharp point on one end.

Dart Quiver: Length = 39 cm (15+ in) ; Weight = 258 gm

The blowgun is in very good condition. There are a few age cracks in the body as a result of moisture loss over decades of storage. This is shown in the photo. The mouth piece is somewhat loose and splined with cord wrapped around the nozzle. The dart case and darts are in excellent condition.

Please note: The cost to ship this blowgun and quiver set will be between $25 and $40 to an address in the USA. The blowgun and dart quiver must be shipped in separate packages. The cost to ship this blowgun overseas will be much more because of size restrictions.

I lived in Panama for nearly 20 years (1950s and 1960s). I spent some time with the indigenous Indians near the border with Colombia. I went on a couple of Howler Monkey hunting trips using blowguns. I learned the following from the native people: Blowgun darts are usually made out of sharpened Palmwood splinters. Kapok [ cotton-like material from seed pods on local trees] is wrapped around the blunt end of the darts to a diameter that is snug with the bore diameter of the inner tube. The darts are often tipped with poison from the Dendrobates Poison Arrow Frogs ( Curare is more commonly used in South America ). Some blowgun quivers include a rat jaw (Piranha jaw in the Amazon) that is attached to the quiver with a short cord. I have read that the teeth on the jaw is used to sharpen the dart tip, but in Panama, the dart is sharpened using a honing stone and the jaw is used to cut a small circumferential groove around the perimeter of the dart near the poisoned tip, especially when hunting monkeys. After the dart penetrates the monkey's skin, the monkey tries to remove the dart, but the circumferential groove weakens the poison dart tip so that it snaps off and stays inside the monkey. It takes a long time for the monkey to slow down and die. More than half of the monkeys die high in the treetops and are lost to the hunters. I am not sure if any of this is the same as how the darts are prepared in the Amazon, but I thought that this information would be of value to anyone interested in blowguns.

I would prefer that the buyer not use this blowgun for hunting. It is a collectible. Instead, it would be better to make a blowgun and dart set using PVC tubing, shish kabob sticks and cotton using the dimensions of this blowgun as a model.

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