Eton College NHM: Non-Lethal Avian Arrows
More beautiful and bird-friendly(ish) in large.
Following on from yesterday's blip about Robert Hanbury-Tenison's Collection at the Eton NHM, I took my macro lens in to photograph these incredibly ingenious indigenous arrows from Brazil. They are (still) used for catching birds alive rather than killing them, and feature numerous special (and beautifully-crafted) details, which I photographed whilst trying to avoid the camera shake caused by shaking my head gently in amazement.
Their information label reads (with illustrative macro images linked):
"These extraordinary arrows are from the Suya Indians in the Xingu National Park. The arrows have circular nuts attached part way up the shaft with a hole cut in them, which causes the arrow to whistle when it is fired into the air. The feather fletches are curved like a propeller, thus making an even more interesting noise. The purpose is to hypnotise the target bird into remaining on its perch high in a tree instead of flying away, as it might do had it heard the usual swish of an arrow. The arrows, instead of having killing points, simply have a lump of beeswax on the end designed to stun the bird and make it fall to the ground, when it would be taken home to be kept as a pet for its tail feathers."
Amazing artefacts, beautifully crafted, and extraordinarily well-engineered.
All of my photos can be seen on Flickr (right from this Wolf Spider, spotted on the stairwell window sill), and there is more info. on the Suyá people on Wikipedia here.
Back to Oxford tomorrow PM, although I promise that Saturday's blip will be very different, and definitely not NBC (although I WILL be going there too).