Peccary Tooth, Venezuela


Transferred from the Wellcome Institute in 1985; 1985.52.1583
Peccaries are pig-like mammals with stocky bodies, large heads, and short thin legs. They are found in North, Central and South America and are hunted by several indigenous tribes for their meat and hides, and for their teeth and bones, which are made into tools and decorations.
In some of these places, peccary teeth are connected with initiation rites and scarification practices, and fashioned into knives and mouthpieces for blowguns. They are also worked, or decorated, and strung on cotton threads to make necklaces, used as children’s ornaments, and carried by hunters as charms for protection and good luck in hunting. Decorated peccary teeth have been found at several Mayan archaeological sites, suggesting that they have been used as amulets and charms for hundreds of years.

Artisans of Memory

Behind the scenes of an amulets project

This series of short films follows the progress and practices of those connected with the Small Blessings project as they unravel the stories surrounding these curious objects.

The full series of films may be viewed here.


Amulets Competition

The competition is now closed and a winner has been announced. Find out more here.

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