Making a Pai Tavytera altar in the Ita Guazu community in Amambay, Paraguay.

altar guarani indians

The wood altar is the central institution in the religious beliefs of the Pai Tavytera. The altar is considered a sacred sanctuary and a focal point of the community. The altars usually resides in the homes of the spiritual leaders of the Pai Tavytera Indians or important leaders. The altar is a place where the community gathers around for worship or to discuss matters that are important to the community.

altar anotated

The altar is 52" high and includes two 43" wooden rods (3) that represents deities or saints. From those rods hanges a gourd (1) that is utilized to baptize the children, and the shaman's gourd rattle (2), the most important item for the shaman to start his prayer that is a song and a dance to communicate with the spirits. Part of the altar is a 29" bamboo staff (4) that is used mostly by women to give rhythm to the rituals. The altar is marked by dots (5) on a similar motif of the rock art found in the area.

inspecting the altar pai tavytera indians guarani paraguay

This altar was made by Don Leonido and Na Silvia Arce, from the Ita Guazu community of Amambay in late 2013. The altar was made with money raised on a kickstarter campaign for the Solar Map Project with the intention to be donated to the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian.

prime materials

Here Don Leonido returns from the jungle with a tree he cut out to make the altar.

making the altar

Carving the base of the altar.

altar pai tavytera indians guarani paraguay

Don Leonido and his wife Na Silvia blessing the altar in from of traditional Pai Tavytera Hut in the Ita Guazu Community.