Anguilla News

Arawak Artifacts

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Bringing the past to life. February 17, 2001 was the unveiling of a limited edition of reproductions Arawak Arifacts, hand crafted in Anguilla.

DUHO (Casique Ceremonial Stool)
ZEMI (Arawak Idol)
These unique reproductions are the result of an idea by Wilma Vanterpool of Island Harbour. Wilma has been studying the the Arawak Indians for many years, visiting museums and gathering information. Unfortunately, many of the artifacts used by the Arawaks are now known only in artists sketches from previous centuries or in fragments from archaeological digs. In order to help bring the past alive, Wilma decided to reproduce three items from the Arawak past.

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The Duho was a special ceremonial stool carved from wood or stone in the shape of an animal for the Arawak religious leader (Cacique).

These stools were used in villages throughout the Caribbean.
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The Bohio was a house or hut, strongly constructed in a round shape from wooden posts with woven cane between the posts.

The roof was conical shaped with thatch covering. Most Caribbean villagers lived in Bohio style huts; however, Cacique's Bohio was larger than all.

Hammocks for sleeping purposes were the main furnishing in the Bohio.
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Idols of this type were used in religious ceremonials throughout the Caribbean.

Different Zemi were created to represent different dieties, such as sky gods and earth godesses, which represent the forces controlled by these gods: rain, wind, hurricanes and fire. The earthen goddess Zemi represented "fertility".
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Wilma explains the Arawak collection, its creation and future, to the Governor of Anguilla, Mr. Johnstone and his wife. The Arawak Indians, now almost extinct, have left an indelible legend in the Caribbean. In Anguilla, this can be seen by markings, petroglyphs in caves and remnants of excavated artifacts.

Wilma Vanterpool works in the Anguilla Development Board, helping small businesses on the island. She also is one of the officers of the Anguilla Football (Soccer) Association, helping promote sport.

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The artifacts were first hand sculpted in clay by Anguillian artist, Dian Samuals (pictured here).

Then a mold was made, in several parts, since the objects have to be realistic in 3D from all angles.

Dian learned to make the multi-part molds an expert in historical reproductions, Adam Azaire. The result is a reproduction of museum quality, hand crafted in Anguilla.

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Each item in the collection will be produced in a limited run of 500.

The collection is on display at Cheddie's Carving Studio (pictured here), Driftwood Haven, The Cove and at the Heritage Museum in South Hill.

 Revised: 2001/2/24

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