Swaying on Feather-Roses and Imperial Crests: Brazilian Feather-Decorated Hammocks, Nation-Building, and Indigenous Agency

Palabras clave: hamacas decoradas con plumas, objetos transculturales, Amazonia, siglos XIX-XX


Feather-decorated hammocks from the Amazon have been documented in travel reports and incorporated into museum collections from the nineteenth up to the early twentieth century. Here we present an analysis of five of these hammocks, housed in European museums. Through an object-centered approach, combining data obtained by direct observation of museum objects and associated documentation, historic travel reports and ethnographic literature, new information was obtained on the hammocks, such as possible areas of origin and indigenous producer groups. Results show that the production of these hammocks occurred in an area larger than traditionally believed, and that indigenous peoples at times decorated these hammocks in such a way as to express elements of their culture, imprinting ethnic markers onto artifacts that were many times considered as non-indigenous due to their production in transcultural contexts.