Foto: Marcos Mendes, 1995

Akuntsu

  • Other names
    Akunt'su
  • Where they are How many

    RO5 (Siasi/Sesai, 2012)
  • Linguistic family
    Tupari

Material culture

akuntsu_5

Like the groups from the Marico Cultural Complex, the Akuntsu manufacture a carrying bag made from tucum fibres with great care and application. Consequently, the marico may be a point of reference for tracing the historical contacts with other peoples between the valleys of the headwaters of the affluents of the left shore of the Pimenta Bueno river and the headwaters of the affluents of the right shore of the Guaporé, with whom they share many similar cultural aspects.

They make items of pottery and body adornments, such as cotton bracelets, garters and anklets, some with small appliqués of hide with bird feathers (toucan) and sometimes mammal teeth.

Today they make little feather artwork, aside from the nasal decorations, for which macaw feathers are commonly used, and the feather appliqués used on their arm and leg decorations.

Bows are made from a species of palm wood, while arrows are mostly fitted with a single sharp tip or with three tips, beautifully decorated with hand-dyed red threads.

The Akuntsu user river shells of various sizes and various types of seeds, which they use to make necklaces. Pieces of plastic are also used. The latter formed part of both Akuntsu and Kanoê culture even before official contact with Funai, and are cut in trapezoid or circular shapes to make the necklaces and shoulder belts they adore using everyday and to which they are strongly attached, since in the time before contact plastic was a reference to a successful raid on some barrels of chemical products, buckets and other objects made from the material, commonly forgotten in the farm fields or abandoned at outsiders camp sites. The colours pleased them immensely with a preference for blue, red, yellow and white.

Both men and women use a small loincloth with strands of inner bark in the same way as various peoples documented by the Rondon commission, such as the ancient Kepkiriwát. Distinct versions of these loincloths appear much further to the east of the Akuntsu territory, among the Rikbaktsa of the Juruena basin in northwest Mato Grosso.

The Akuntsu also make a bamboo pan pipe, used to compose beautiful melodies.