bodies shrunken after the removal of all the bones by the Jivaro
Indians of Tierra Oriente. Ecuador.
The Museum of American Indian.
Heye Foundation. New York
Two shrunken bodies were on
display at the Museum of the American Indian in New York City
until 1990. Acquired in the early '20s, they had been
displayed as the handiwork of the Jivaro Indians when actually
they were the work of an entrepreneurial Peruvian medical doctor
seeking extra money.
They were later stored in the
museum basement where only proven relatives can view them.
It is unlikely that the identities of the two bodies will ever
While living in Equator in the
early 1900s' Dr. Gustaye Struve shrunk the bodies after spending
time with the Jivaro Indians and learning their art of head
shrinking. With no shortage of unclaimed bodies in a time
when malaria and yellow fever were rampant, Dr. Struve had gone
into the business of head shrinking to fuel the enterprising
demand by tourists, explores, exploiters and collectors who were
seeking to purchase these curiosities.
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