Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Eat the sorcerer

  • Dieneke's Anthropology Blog has a summary of a couple of posts on cannibalism. The first is from the Smithsonian magazine, and regards the Korowai of New Guinea, and their practice of consuming people suspected of being khakhua (malevolent male sorcerers):
    ...Bailom shakes his head. "Human flesh tastes like young cassowary," he says, referring to a local ostrich-like bird. At a khakhua meal, he says, both men and women—children do not attend—eat everything but bones, teeth, hair, fingernails and toenails and the penis. "I like the taste of all the body parts," Bailom says, "but the brains are my favorite."
    He also mentions this story from Eitb24, the 'Basque News and Information Channel', regarding cannibalism among the Aztec. A caravan of about 550 Spanish were captured at what is now known as Tecuaque:
    The caravan was apparently captured because it was made up mostly of the mulatto, mestizo, Maya Indian and Caribbean men and women given to the Spanish as carriers and cooks when they landed in Mexico in 1519, and so was moving slowly.
    The prisoners were kept in cages for months while Aztec priests selected a few each day at dawn, held them down on a sacrificial slab, cut out their hearts and offered them up to various Aztec gods. Some may have been given hallucinogenic mushrooms or pulque -- an alcoholic milky drink made from fermented cactus juice -- to numb them to what was about to happen.
    ...
    On hearing of the massacre, Cortes renamed the town Tecuaque -- meaning "where people were eaten" in the indigenous Nahuatl language -- and sent an army to wipe out its people. When they heard the Spanish were coming, the Zultepec Aztecs threw their victims' possessions down wells, unwittingly preserving buttons and jewelry for the archaeologists.

Canby Depot Museum