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Theodor de Bry's Engravings of the Timucua

Theodor de Bry's Engravings of the Timucua


Plate XVI
Trophies and Ceremonies after a Victory

On their return home from a military expedition they reunite in a place selected for that purpose. There they pile up the arms and legs and scalps of their enemies with solemn ceremony on rows of tall poles set in the ground. The men and women sit in a circle around the sorcerer who, clutching a small image, mutters a thousand imprecations, cursing the enemy. Over on the far side three men are kneeling. One of them, holding a club in both hands, strikes a flat stone, as if in time to the words of the sorcerer. On his left and on his right two other men are seated. They hold in their hands the fruit of a certain plant which grows like a gourd or melon. This fruit has been pierced at both ends, hollowed out and dried. The Indians fill this container with small stones or seeds; they attach a stick handle and shake it to make a noise like hand-bells. All this is accompanied by chanting in the national manner. These ceremonies are celebrated each time they take prisoners.

All transcriptions are taken from Discovering the New World, Based on the Works of Theodore de Bry, edited by Michael Alexander (New York: Harper & Row, 1976).