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Monday, 10 March 2014

A Couple of Zemis from Cuba

Zemis are kinds of religious paraphenalia used by the Arawak Indians. In Africa I suppose they would be called Fetishes. These examples are from the Tainos of Cuba.

In this case I found images of two of them that look to be representations of Unknown animals.
The one below is a vomit stick to put down a persons throat and make them vomit, for purification rituals. In this cae it looks to me like the big fishing bat that is the American Ahool, also represented in sculptures of Northern South America and in Mesoamerica as Kamazotz (Camazotz)

This would represent the bat with the wings spread (center) and also seated on the ground with the wings folded. The creature is supposed to be the size of a baby or a small child. The wingspan is as big as the wingspan of a large eagle or even bigger than that, 10-12 feet across or so.
 (I added the line between the legs for clarity as well as taking it apart to show the wings better)

Below is a kind of a sea monster:

And I am just wondering if this is not another portrayal of the Caribbean Elephant seal. The creature is called "Water Horse" in nearby Central America and there are sightings of sea monsters near to Cuba that are probably actually Elephant seals, and some that possibly came ashore at Cuba (Particularly in the 1940s) It is not an alligator and it has mammalian teeth (not Reptillian) with distinctive canines at the corners of its jaws. It is also not a whale because of those teeth.

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