Archaeology

Caciques and Cemi Idols: The Web Spun by Taino Rulers by Jose R Oliver

By Jose R Oliver

Cemís are either transportable artifacts and embodiments of individuals or spirit, which the Taínos and different natives of the larger Antilles (ca. advert 1000-1550) considered as numinous beings with supernatural or magic powers. This quantity takes an in depth examine the connection among people and different (non-human) beings which are imbued with cemí strength, particularly in the Taíno inter-island cultural sphere encompassing Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. The relationships tackle the $64000 questions of id and personhood of the cemí icons and their human “owners” and the consequences of cemí gift-giving and gift-taking that sustains a fancy internet of relationships among caciques (chiefs) of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola.

 

Oliver offers a cautious research of the 4 significant varieties of cemís—three-pointed stones, huge stone heads, stone collars, and elbow stones—as good as face mask, which supply a fascinating distinction to the stone heads. He reveals proof for his interpretation of human and cemí interactions from a severe assessment of 16th-century Spanish ethnohistoric records, in particular the Relación Acerca de las Antigüedades de los Indios written by way of Friar Ramón Pané in 1497–1498 lower than orders from Christopher Columbus. Buttressed via examples of local resistance and syncretism, the amount discusses the iconoclastic conflicts and the connection among the icons and the people. targeting this and at the a number of contexts during which the relationships have been enacted, Oliver unearths how the cemís have been valuable to the workout of local political energy. Such cemís have been thought of a right away chance to the hegemony of the Spanish conquerors, as those powerful items have been visible as allies within the local resistance to the onslaught of Christendom with its icons of saints and virgins.

 

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