Matsés men wearing traditional crowns. The crowns are painted with annatto
with various designs that identify their clan. In this case, the red spots
painted on the crowns identify them as members of the Jaguar Clan
(“jaguar-kind”). The other principal kinship group in Matses society is the Worm Clan
and the the symbol used to identify them is a horizontal rectangular band, rather than the
round spot used for the Jaguar Clan. There are also two other minor clans (the
Boar and Snake Clans), represented by a triangle or vertical rectangular band,
respectively. Members of the Jaguar Clan have distinct
tasks in Matses society and their departure from their assigned roles can result
in catastrophic events such as crop failures.
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Text © 2007
Matses.info, Photos © 2007, Bjorn Svensson, all rights reserved, Jaguar Clan.