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Muyrakytã or muiraquitã, an archaeological jade talisman coming from Amazonia: historical review and anthropogeological implications

The first indirect written informations about the muiraquitãs, are related to Orellana, who traveled the Amazon river for the first time downstream in 1542 and mentioned presence of the Amazonas Indians, living without husbands and act as brave fighters. De la Condamine during his travel in 1735 along the Amazonas discribed frogshape amulet made of greenstone like jade used by Amazonas. Spix and Martius written about pierres divines, and used the name Muraquêitã for frogshape pendant made of motherpearl. However older writtens of Maurício Heriarte used therms close to muiraquitã: baraquitãs, buraquitãs, puúraquitan, uuraquitan, mueraquitan. Finally Barboza Rodrigues at 1875 brought the name muyrakytã to well acept therminology which was reinforced by Francisco Barata in 1954 as muiraquitã. Barata defines as a frogshape artifact sculptured in greenstones, jade. Muiraquitã is of tupi origin meaning using frogshape pendant. They were used by Indians of Tapajó/Santarém and Conduri Tradition which lived at the Lower Amazon region until the first contacts with the European colonizators. To make the muiraquitãs, artifact of high finnished carving, one presumes that the Indians used ingenious processes, meanwhile the most important was patience and ability. The most important centre of frogshape artifact carving was the Lower Amazon. Although supposed to be Asia, the source of the raw material must have been the Amazonia. The muiraquitã were used as amulet and symbol of power between the chiefdoms in the Amazon region during its time. About them there arc several legends and myths always connecting with the Amazonas fighters of Orellana.

Muiraquitã; muyrakytã; Amazonas; Amazonia; history; legends


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