pai tavytera

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.

Pai Tavytera Indian house burned to the ground in Amambay, Paraguay


start fire panambi house guarani Although normally politically peaceful, the area of Amambay has not been immune to the strife that has been rocking the area. This morning, the large traditional Pai Tavytera meeting house, the "Oga Yekutu" that had been built on the grounds of the governorship in the city of PJC, was burned to the ground amidst a political manifestation.

Oga JEKUTU is a traditional ceremonial thatch roof house of the Paí Tavyterá. This one was built in the property adjacent to the headquarters of the Governor, and served as meeting place for the various tribes in the city, and as an embassy of sorts for the Paí Tavyterá in their dealings with the Governor's office.

This incident, unprecedented in our area, comes after increasing turmoil on both sides of the Paraguayan/Brazilian border relating to the native indians. Although responsibility for this tragic event in disputed, and so far we are happy that there are no fatalities or injuries to lament, it demonstrates the fragility of the Pai Tavyetra culture in the larger Paraguayan society.

We are following the situation closely and await new developments, and instructed our photographers in the field to have caution, and avoid any type of behavior that could have negative repercussions to their safety, the safety of our Pai Tavytera collaborators, as well as the continuity of the Solar Map Project.

guarani indian paragauy fire house

paraguay indian house burned to ground

pai tavytera amambay house traditional guarani