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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/669

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MOXOS


607


MOXOS


boat-making, pottery, and music, their favourite musi- cal instrument being a sort of pan-pipes sometimes six feet in length. The Moxos had also a method of picture writing. This superiority may have been due in a measure to Peruvian influence, the Inca emperor Yiipanqiii having temporarily subdued the Moxos about UOO

In most of the tribes both men and women went en- tirely naked, but painted their faces in different col- ours, wore labrets, nose pendants, and necklaces — par- ticularly of the teeth of slain enemies — and. various decorations of feathers. One of their tribes, the Ti- boi, had heads of pyramidal shape, produced by pres- sure upon the skull in infancy. Their hair was worn at full length in a queue. Their weapons were the


orphaned children also were sometimes killed by the elders. The authority of the village chiefs was abso- lute. Interment was in the ground and the property, instead of being destroyed as in most tribes, was di- vided among the relatives. In several tribes the bones were dug up after a time, reduced to powder and mi.xed with pounded corn to form a cake, which was given to friends to cat as the strongest bond and token of friendship. Some of this bread was thu.s partaken of by the first missionaries before they knew its com- position.

Their religion was a pure nature worship, special reverence being paid to the River, the Thunder, and the Jaguar. Their tribal ceremonials and religious rituals were in the keeping of their priests, who were


bow, with poisoned arrows, and a javehn with which they could kill at one hundred paces. They were very cruel in war, being addicted to the torture of prisoners — a practice rare in South America — as well as to can- nibalism. The Canichana even fattened prisoners for their cannibal feasts and afterwards fashioned their skulls info drinking cups. In some cases prisoners were held as slaves. Unlike the Iroquois, who exor- cised the ghosts of their murdered victims, the Moxos moved away from the spot of the sacrifice to escape the vengeance of the dead. The savage Canichana in particular were so persistent in cannibalism that after coming into the missions they would sometimes steal children secretly for this purpose, even casting lots among themselves to decide who should give up a child, until the missionaries took steps to note each birth immi'diatcly upon delivery.

Marriages were arranged between the parents, usu- ally without consulting the young people, and polyg- amy was permitted, although not common, but adul- tery was considered disgraceful. The wife was the mistress of the household and always chose the camp- ing place. If the mother died the infant was buried alive with her, and if twins were born, one also was always buried. The woman who sufifered mis- carriage was killed by her own husband. The help- less aged were put to death by their children, and


put through a severe course of training and initiation involving a year's abstention from all animal food, to- gether with a battle with a jaguar — regarded as an embodied god — until wounded, and thus marked, by the divinity. Their principal festivals were regulated by the new moon, beginning with a day's fast and end- ing with a night dance and drinking orgy.

The earlier attempts to missionize the tribes of cen- tral Bolivia met with no success. About the year 1673 the Moxos province was brought to the atten- tion of the Jesuits of the college at I/ima by Jos6 del Castillo, a lay brother, author of the valuable "Re- laci6n", who had accompanied some traders into that region and had been greatly impres.-^cd by the appar- ent docility of the natives. Father Cipriano Baraza, afterwards so noted as a missionary, at once asked and obtained the permission to undertake their con- version. In 1674, accompanied only by Brother Cas- tillo and some Indian guides, he entered their country from Santa Cruz by way of a twelve-days' canoe voy- age down the Mamor6 river. In four years he had won their love and nearly mastered the language, when serious illness compelled his return to the health- ier climate of Santa Cruz. He employed his convales- cence in IcMining weaving, in order to induce them to clot he tlieiM.selves, as a beginning in civihzation. In the meantime, however, he was assigned to labour