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Matses, Amazon, Peru

The Matsés Indians (commonly called Mayorunas in Brazil) are often affectionately referred to as the "cat people" due to the characteristic "whiskers" that women place in their noses. There are about 2200 Matsés living in the Yavarí Valley of Peru and Brazil, with the majority residing in Peru. The Matsés speak a language of the Panoan linguistic family that is closely aligned with the dialects that the Matis and Korubo Indians speak. The Matsés share many aspects of their culture with the Matis Indians, including medicinal plant use. Some Matsés know how to prepare neste or dauë (a medicinal bath for children) and bëcchëte (an eyewash for improving visual acuity) similar to the Matis Indians of Brazil. Matsés Indian facial tattoos consist of accentuated lines surrounding the mouth and extending along the cheeks to the base of the ears. Women wear ornaments made from the ribs of palm leaves in their noses to represent the whiskers of cats. In addition, sticks made from the shoot of caña brava are sometimes placed in a perforation of the skin below the lower lip of women. Formerly, men had perforations in their upper lips in which they placed spines from the ungurahui palm (Oenocarpus bataua). Commonly, a bright red dye (achiote), obtained from the seeds of the annatto tree (Bixa orellana) is applied to the face and body.

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  1. Earth Jagua Body Art Set

    Here is the hottest new body painting kit to hit the market! EARTH JAGUA is the simple, safe, and all-natural solution to creating hip, realistic BLACK tattoos that are temporary, without dangerous chemicals or needles!

    "Jagua" (scientific name genipa americana) is an edible, orange-size, tropical fruit with a thick rind found in the Amazon. The natural dye is extracted from the unripe fruit and used for many purposes by indigenous people throughout Central and South America, especially for body adornment. Its medicinal properties are well documented, chief among them the ability to repel insects and, when taken internally, to treat bronchitis.

    This kit contains the original Earth Jagua Tattoo Kit; the exciting new book by Carine Fabius, Jagua — A Journey into Body Art from the Amazon; and Land of Jagua, a fascinating 30-minute DVD that takes viewers to the heart of the Amazon.

    Part of the proceeds from every sale of the Earth Jagua Body Art Set is sent to the Matsés to help pay for medicine and other necessities.

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