Leisure Recreation and the Arts

Work and play are not neatly separated and a family outing to the garden to spend the day may be considered a leisure activity. Families may also sit together on mats under the night sky for an hour or two in the evening. Beyond such occasions, males and females do not socialize together. With the current demographic increase the number of young children clearly burden women with almost constant activity. Respite from work generally takes the form of a leisurely dip in the river, often while snacking on sweet potatoes, or when women socialize in front of their houses on the central patio after dark. Every adult woman is an accomplished body painter and has command of a number of motifs that express both socially correct classification of age/gender grade and life crisis state as well as personal style and flair. Every seventh or eighth day—or when the previous genipap application has faded away—adult women gather to paint each other's bodies. During these times men and even children are conspicuously absent and these are often gay occasions when much information is exchanged. Men's painting of their own bodies and women's painting of men is much more cursory; however, the painting of a child can take several hours. Women also raise pets (birds, monkeys, and even tapirs!), often as an inherited ceremonial privilege.

Hunting is valued both as a prestigious activity and also because it allows men to relax away from the formality and constraints of the village. Men do not hunt or go to the gardens daily, as do women, and they may spend idle time in conversation or doing nothing. While sitting at home or in the men's house they also weave baskets or other items and make weapons, such as clubs and bows and arrows, or ritual ornaments, such as mollusc shell necklaces or feather headdresses. Although such items have essential functions, they are also considered to be beautiful. The techniques for making them are considered essential male knowledge, but some men are noticeably more accomplished than others. It should be noted that to remain without doing anything in the village for an extended time invites gossip and reproach, mainly because to do nothing by oneself is considered antisocial. Although unmarried men seem to engage in less work than others, they make a great show of going around together and in this way avoid such accusations.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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