Monday, August 09, 2010

The Taino Duho and UNESCO...

Did You Know: In 1997, UNESCO had an ongoing project, Insula 2000, and chose this opportunity to strike a medal in memory of the Taino, awarded to individuals who have distinguished themselves in the defense of peace and democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean. The obverse side features a duho, a low four-legged ceremonial chair sculpted from a guaiakan tree native to the many Caribbean islands. Dating back from the 12th to the 14th century, the masterpiece of Taino art displayed on the UNESCO medal is currently in the possession of the Musée de l’Homme in Paris. According to Taino understanding the carved effigy represents a particular Spirit or "Cemi" endowed with the faculty of "moving". During ceremonial rituals, entranced spiritual leaders or community leaders called Kasike sit on the duho and “travel” to dialogue with the Spirit World. On non-religious occasions, a distinguished guest can be invited to sit on this chair which, for UNESCO, symbolizes cultural exchanges and understanding between peoples. The reverse of the medal is plain. - - UCTP Taino News © 2010

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