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Felix DiGiovanni and Paul Beer photographs of the Guahibo and other indigenous tribes of eastern Colombia

Creator:
Beer, Paul  Search this
DiGiovanni, Felix V.  Search this
Collector:
Bellis, Tom  Search this
Extent:
102 Photographic prints (Black and white, silver gelatin)
Culture:
Guahibo  Search this
Piapoco (Piapoko)  Search this
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographic prints
Place:
Vaupés (Colombia)
Colombia
Orinoco River
Date:
Circa 1938
Summary:
Photographs made by Paul Beer and Felix DiGiovanni depicting indigenous people, primarily the Guahibo, as well as the natural and cultural features of the Vaupés region of Eastern Colombia.
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists of 85 photographic prints mounted on paperboard, with annotations made by Genevieve Bellis, wife of Tom Bellis. Also included are 18 enlargements mounted on black paper with annotations (not Bellis') in Spanish, and a number written on the back. With one exception (Item 29), the enlargements are of the photographs mounted on paperboard.

The photographs depict the indigenous people of eastern Colombia, primarily the Guahibo tribe, as well as the natural and cultural features of the Vichada region. Other tribes represented in the photographs include the Piapoco, Guanano, Banibo, Casanare, Guayabero, and Tucano tribes. The location depicted in the images is in the Vichada region, unless otherwise indicated.

The photographs show the customs and daily activities of the tribes, including bathing, washing clothes, cooking, fishing, hunting, making arrows and dugout canoes, house-building, creating water pitchers from clay, weaving cloth from the bark of trees, and preparing for ceremonies.
Biographical / Historical:
Felix V. DiGiovanni (ca. 1913-1990) was an American engineer, writer, photographer, and filmmaker. He was raised in the Bronx and graduated with an engineering degree from The City College of New York in 1933. As a young man, he traveled throughout Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil, and later became interested in documenting the eastern plains of Colombia, known as Los Llanos, as well as its inhabitants. In the late 1930s, he returned to Colombia to film a documentary on the indigenous people of the Vaupés region.

DiGiovanni's partner in the expedition was Paul Beer. Beer (1904-1979) was a German photographer active in Bogota, Colombia, in the late 1920s.

By 1941, DiGiovanni's documentary film about the Guahibo was completed. In 1944 he returned to Colombia to work with the U.S. Cinchona Mission, which comprised a team of scientists travelling to the Andes region to find cinchona trees, whose bark produces the alkaloid quinine, used for treating malaria.

DiGiovanni met Tom Bellis during this time. Bellis (1907-1993) was an officer with the Food and Drug Administration. From October 1942 until December 1945, he worked for the Board of Economic Warfare in Bogota, Colombia at the Instituto Nacional de Higiene Samper-Martinez. Here, he directed a laboratory which analyzed cinchona bark. In November 1945, Bellis purchased this set of photographs, along with 28 Guahibo artifacts, from DiGiovanni.

Felix DiGiovanni returned to New York in 1946 and became a mechanical engineer with a major oil company. In 1960, he completed a draft of a manuscript about his experiences with the Guahibo, titled The Call of the Curassow and the Land of the Guahibo Indians. He intended to publish it and also produce a Spanish translation, but he died December 31, 1990, before it could be finished. In 1994, Pauline DiGiovanni, DiGiovanni's widow, published 40 copies of the manuscript in English.

After the expedition with DiGiovanni, Paul Beer's photography focused primarily on architectural and industrial themes. He lived in Bogota until his death in 1979.
Related Materials:
The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) holds the Felix V. DiGiovanni collection from Colombia, collection ID number NMAI.AC.300, donated by DiGiovanni's widow, Pauline DiGiovanni. It contains prints and negatives different from the NAA's collection, a 16mm film, and the book The Call of the Curassow and the Land of the Guahibo Indians. NMAI also has objects collected by DiGiovanni, including baskets, tools, necklaces, woven bags, hammocks, arrows, and pottery.
Separated Materials:
Along with the photographs, Genevieve Bellis donated 28 objects from the Guahibo tribe, which are held in the National Museum of Natural History's anthropology collections. These form accession number 400216, and include wooden bows, a woven hammock, arrows, a water jug, ceremonial necklaces, a gourd rattle, a reed tube rattle, a small gourd containing curare, incised spindle whorls, and bead necklaces.
Provenance:
The photographs were donated by Genevieve Bellis, widow of Tom Bellis, in 1995.
Restrictions:
There are no restrictions on this collection.
Rights:
Contact the repository for terms of use.
Topic:
Ethnology  Search this
Guanano Indians  Search this
Baniwa Indians  Search this
Tucano Indians  Search this
Guayabero Indians  Search this
Citation:
Photo lot 1995-41, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Identifier:
NAA.PhotoLot.1995-41
See more items in:
Felix DiGiovanni and Paul Beer photographs of the Guahibo and other indigenous tribes of eastern Colombia
Archival Repository:
National Anthropological Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-naa-photolot-1995-41

Bow

Culture/People:
Baniwa  Search this
Possible collector:
Erland Nordenskiöld (Nils Erland Herbert Nordenskiöld/Le Baron Erland de Nordenskiold), Non-Indian, 1877-1932  Search this
Previous owner:
Göteborgs Etnografiska Museum (Gothenburg Museum of Ethnography/Göteborg Museum)  Search this
Object Name:
Bow
Media/Materials:
Wood, cordage
Techniques:
Carved
Object Type:
Hunting/Fishing/Warfare
Place:
Lower Rio Içana; Santana (Santa Ana, Santa Anna), São Gabriel da Cachoeira Municipality; North Mesoregion, Rio Negro Micoregion; Amazonas State, North Region; Brazil
Catalog Number:
16/4243
Barcode:
164243.000
See related items:
Baniwa
Hunting/Fishing/Warfare
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws60d05cc0d-09c4-4611-b01b-c988d8052b09
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:NMAI_176039
Online Media:

Bullroarer

Culture/People:
Baniwa  Search this
Object Name:
Bullroarer
Media/Materials:
Wood, cordage
Techniques:
Carved
Object Type:
Music and Sound
Place:
Lower Rio Içana; Santana (Santa Ana, Santa Anna), São Gabriel da Cachoeira Municipality; North Mesoregion, Rio Negro Micoregion; Amazonas State, North Region; Brazil
Catalog Number:
16/4489
Barcode:
164489.000
See related items:
Baniwa
Music and Sound
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws68d40c100-0e52-489b-b0bb-f803a758eaef
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:NMAI_176306
Online Media:

Vessel stand

Culture/People:
Baniwa  Search this
Possible collector:
Erland Nordenskiöld (Nils Erland Herbert Nordenskiöld/Le Baron Erland de Nordenskiold), Non-Indian, 1877-1932  Search this
Previous owner:
Göteborgs Etnografiska Museum (Gothenburg Museum of Ethnography/Göteborg Museum)  Search this
Object Name:
Vessel stand
Media/Materials:
Pottery
Techniques:
Coiled/hand built
Object Type:
Containers and Vessels
Place:
Lower Rio Içana; Santana (Santa Ana, Santa Anna), São Gabriel da Cachoeira Municipality; North Mesoregion, Rio Negro Micoregion; Amazonas State, North Region; Brazil
Catalog Number:
16/4245
Barcode:
164245.000
See related items:
Baniwa
Containers and Vessels
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws6f280dc91-50dc-489c-a8a9-127c36b8ca1a
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:NMAI_176041
Online Media:

Ornament

Culture/People:
Baniwa  Search this
Possible collector:
Erland Nordenskiöld (Nils Erland Herbert Nordenskiöld/Le Baron Erland de Nordenskiold), Non-Indian, 1877-1932  Search this
Previous owner:
Göteborgs Etnografiska Museum (Gothenburg Museum of Ethnography/Göteborg Museum)  Search this
Object Name:
Ornament
Media/Materials:
Feather/feathers, cordage
Techniques:
Wrapped, tied
Object Type:
Adornment/Jewelry
Place:
Rio Aiari (Aiary); Cucuru Poço, São Gabriel da Cachoeira Municipality; North Mesoregion, Rio Negro Micoregion; Amazonas State, North Region; Brazil
Catalog Number:
16/4240
Barcode:
164240.000
See related items:
Baniwa
Adornment/Jewelry
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws6763f9ea8-8da0-4b3e-8bfa-cd20495e2fbb
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:NMAI_176036
Online Media:

Arrow for fishing

Culture/People:
Carútana (Arara)  Search this
Collector:
Commander George Miller Dyott (G.M. Dyott), Non-Indian, 1883-1972  Search this
Previous owner:
Commander George Miller Dyott (G.M. Dyott), Non-Indian, 1883-1972  Search this
Donor:
Commander George Miller Dyott (G.M. Dyott), Non-Indian, 1883-1972  Search this
Object Name:
Arrow for fishing
Media/Materials:
Wood, feather/feathers, twine/string, tree pitch/gum
Techniques:
Carved, tied, wrapped
Object Type:
Hunting/Fishing/Warfare
Place:
Rio Castanha; Amazonas State, North Region; Brazil
Date created:
1925-1933
Catalog Number:
18/4663
Barcode:
184663.000
See related items:
Carútana (Arara)
Hunting/Fishing/Warfare
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws60476676d-11c9-4f3f-a253-497de6df8d9b
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:NMAI_197056
Online Media:

Chair

Culture/People:
Baniwa  Search this
Possible collector:
Erland Nordenskiöld (Nils Erland Herbert Nordenskiöld/Le Baron Erland de Nordenskiold), Non-Indian, 1877-1932  Search this
Previous owner:
Göteborgs Etnografiska Museum (Gothenburg Museum of Ethnography/Göteborg Museum)  Search this
Object Name:
Chair
Media/Materials:
Wood, vegetal fiber
Techniques:
Bent, laced
Object Type:
Furnishings (Home)
Place:
Rio Aiari (Aiary); Cucuru Poço, São Gabriel da Cachoeira Municipality; North Mesoregion, Rio Negro Micoregion; Amazonas State, North Region; Brazil
Catalog Number:
16/4239
Barcode:
164239.000
See related items:
Baniwa
Furnishings (Home)
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws6034a30c2-78b7-451d-88b8-a638e0c30697
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:NMAI_176035
Online Media:

Bow

Culture/People:
Carútana (Arara)  Search this
Collector:
Commander George Miller Dyott (G.M. Dyott), Non-Indian, 1883-1972  Search this
Previous owner:
Commander George Miller Dyott (G.M. Dyott), Non-Indian, 1883-1972  Search this
Donor:
Commander George Miller Dyott (G.M. Dyott), Non-Indian, 1883-1972  Search this
Object Name:
Bow
Media/Materials:
Wood, cordage
Techniques:
Carved, wrapped
Object Type:
Hunting/Fishing/Warfare
Place:
Rio Castanha; Amazonas State, North Region; Brazil
Date created:
1925-1933
Catalog Number:
18/4665
Barcode:
184665.000
See related items:
Carútana (Arara)
Hunting/Fishing/Warfare
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws6e485e297-958c-4b5f-aa10-187cf9b9a8a1
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:NMAI_197058
Online Media:

Arrow

Culture/People:
Baniwa  Search this
Possible collector:
Erland Nordenskiöld (Nils Erland Herbert Nordenskiöld/Le Baron Erland de Nordenskiold), Non-Indian, 1877-1932  Search this
Previous owner:
Göteborgs Etnografiska Museum (Gothenburg Museum of Ethnography/Göteborg Museum)  Search this
Object Name:
Arrow
Media/Materials:
Reed, iron point
Techniques:
Cut, wrapped
Object Type:
Hunting/Fishing/Warfare
Place:
Lower Rio Içana; Santana (Santa Ana, Santa Anna), São Gabriel da Cachoeira Municipality; North Mesoregion, Rio Negro Micoregion; Amazonas State, North Region; Brazil
Catalog Number:
16/4244
Barcode:
164244.000
See related items:
Baniwa
Hunting/Fishing/Warfare
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws6099fb230-776d-4b75-a98e-4f2d4caf11d6
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:NMAI_176040
Online Media:

Basket

Culture/People:
Baniwa  Search this
Possible collector:
Erland Nordenskiöld (Nils Erland Herbert Nordenskiöld/Le Baron Erland de Nordenskiold), Non-Indian, 1877-1932  Search this
Previous owner:
Göteborgs Etnografiska Museum (Gothenburg Museum of Ethnography/Göteborg Museum)  Search this
Object Name:
Basket
Media/Materials:
Vegetal Fiber, dye/dyes
Techniques:
Dyed, twill-plaited
Object Type:
Containers and Vessels
Place:
Lower Rio Içana; Santana (Santa Ana, Santa Anna), São Gabriel da Cachoeira Municipality; North Mesoregion, Rio Negro Micoregion; Amazonas State, North Region; Brazil
Date created:
1900-1910
Catalog Number:
16/4241
Barcode:
164241.000
See related items:
Baniwa
Containers and Vessels
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws6cc4f2733-3565-4e3c-b538-79a331701672
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:NMAI_176037
Online Media:

Rattle

Culture/People:
Baniwa  Search this
Possible collector:
Erland Nordenskiöld (Nils Erland Herbert Nordenskiöld/Le Baron Erland de Nordenskiold), Non-Indian, 1877-1932  Search this
Previous owner:
Göteborgs Etnografiska Museum (Gothenburg Museum of Ethnography/Göteborg Museum)  Search this
Object Name:
Rattle
Media/Materials:
Gourd, wood
Techniques:
Cut
Object Type:
Music and Sound
Place:
Upper Rio Içana; Yandu-Cachoeira, São Gabriel da Cachoeira Municipality; North Mesoregion, Rio Negro Micoregion; Amazonas State, North Region; Brazil
Catalog Number:
16/4238
Barcode:
164238.000
See related items:
Baniwa
Music and Sound
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws6c5d1cbae-79c6-41a9-9ba3-9298f196e1ac
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:NMAI_176034
Online Media:

Bullroarer

Culture/People:
Baniwa  Search this
Possible collector:
Erland Nordenskiöld (Nils Erland Herbert Nordenskiöld/Le Baron Erland de Nordenskiold), Non-Indian, 1877-1932  Search this
Previous owner:
Göteborgs Etnografiska Museum (Gothenburg Museum of Ethnography/Göteborg Museum)  Search this
Object Name:
Bullroarer
Media/Materials:
Wood, cordage
Techniques:
Carved
Object Type:
Music and Sound
Place:
Lower Rio Içana; Santana (Santa Ana, Santa Anna), São Gabriel da Cachoeira Municipality; North Mesoregion, Rio Negro Micoregion; Amazonas State, North Region; Brazil
Catalog Number:
16/4242
Barcode:
164242.000
See related items:
Baniwa
Music and Sound
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws6c1f74296-ac53-404f-b68d-dcc23bc3df9e
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:NMAI_176038
Online Media:

Arrow for small animal-hunting

Culture/People:
Carútana (Arara)  Search this
Collector:
Commander George Miller Dyott (G.M. Dyott), Non-Indian, 1883-1972  Search this
Previous owner:
Commander George Miller Dyott (G.M. Dyott), Non-Indian, 1883-1972  Search this
Donor:
Commander George Miller Dyott (G.M. Dyott), Non-Indian, 1883-1972  Search this
Object Name:
Arrow for small animal-hunting
Media/Materials:
Reed, bamboo, feather/feathers, cordage
Techniques:
Carved, wrapped
Object Type:
Hunting/Fishing/Warfare
Place:
Rio Castanha; Amazonas State, North Region; Brazil
Date created:
1925-1933
Catalog Number:
18/4664
Barcode:
184664.000
See related items:
Carútana (Arara)
Hunting/Fishing/Warfare
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws612dd1f19-c8aa-45ba-914f-538a9db52817
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:NMAI_197057
Online Media:

Dance wand/baton

Culture/People:
Baniwa  Search this
Possible collector:
Erland Nordenskiöld (Nils Erland Herbert Nordenskiöld/Le Baron Erland de Nordenskiold), Non-Indian, 1877-1932  Search this
Previous owner:
Göteborgs Etnografiska Museum (Gothenburg Museum of Ethnography/Göteborg Museum)  Search this
Object Name:
Dance wand/baton
Media/Materials:
Wood
Techniques:
Painted, pyroengraved
Object Type:
Personal items
Place:
Rio Aiari (Aiary); Uapuí, São Gabriel da Cachoeira Municipality; North Mesoregion, Rio Negro Micoregion; Amazonas State, North Region; Brazil
Catalog Number:
16/4237
Barcode:
164237.000
See related items:
Baniwa
Personal items
Data Source:
National Museum of the American Indian
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ws68430c581-3776-48e1-a4fc-f96f3d744e30
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:NMAI_176033
Online Media:

Basket

Donor Name:
Bureau Of American Ethnology  Search this
Culture:
Baniva  Search this
Object Type:
Basket
Place:
Brazil, South America
Accession Date:
5 May 1947
Topic:
Ethnology  Search this
Accession Number:
176066
USNM Number:
E385558-0
See more items in:
Anthropology
Data Source:
NMNH - Anthropology Dept.
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/3bf38b0f7-8c45-472c-8c0a-ba50d9066157
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmnhanthropology_8419586
Online Media:

Cosmos, self, and history in Baniwa religion : for those unborn / Robin M. Wright

Author:
Wright, Robin 1950-  Search this
Physical description:
xx, 314 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Amazon River Valley
Date:
1998
Topic:
Religion  Search this
Baniwa philosophy  Search this
Social life and customs  Search this
Shamanism  Search this
Nativistic movements  Search this
Christianity and culture  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_560752

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