Dart quiver from Ecuador, Americas. Collected by Ronald Hawksby Thomas. Given to the Museum in 1936.
This is a skin-covered bamboo quiver used to hold poisoned-tipped darts for use with a blowpipe. It was made by the Mayna people of Ecuador.
The Beautiful Warrior
This quiver is constructed from a bamboo node that has been covered with agouti skin. The agouti is a large rodent of the tropical lowlands of South America and is related to the guinea pig. The quiver was worn across the shoulder by the animal skin carrying-strap and the small orange gourd attached is intended for storing cotton wool to make dart butts (several are shown here) or curare poison. Inside, the quiver is filled with curled leaf strips inserted lengthways to form compartments, in which the darts are inserted and stored.
The Mayna live along the Quebrada Corrientes River in eastern Ecuador, a tributary of the Rio Tigré. The agouti is a primary prey species of Mayna hunters, and so we can interpret the embellishment of a quiver in a skin from this animal as an indicator of the owner's prowess as a hunter.