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This thesis focuses on three Greater Antillean artifacts used in Taino shamanism. Because this Native group is preliterate , materi~l culture is particularly important when studying their way of life and belief system. The duho , the purging stick, and the zemi are all decorated objects from pre-Columbian Caribbean culture , and are analyzed for their symbolism and purpose in the cohoba ceremony , performed by a Taino behique , or healing man. When Columbus first landed on what he thought to be a New World , the Taino were the first indigenous people he encountered . Disease and mistreatment almost eradicated their gene pool and their traditions and beliefs suffered greatly due to a sudden decrease in population. While there is still much left to understand about the Taino people , this study attempts to summarize the uses of these three particular objects based on physical observations of the artifacts themselves, analysis of primary sources , and other scholarly works dealing with the life of the behique and the spiritual world they believed to be living in.
Butts, Morgan, "Spirit Link: Decorated Objects in Taino Shamanism" (2012). Honors Theses. 2340.