Strands of Beetle-Wing Covers
Arts of the Americas
On View: Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
These earrings made of iridescent-green beetle-wing covers were collected in Pongo de Manseriche on the Marañón River in the 1930s. The Indigenous people who live in this area are the Aguaruna, linguistically related to the Shuar and the Achuar of Ecuador. When the earrings were collected, the area was still part of Ecuador, but after the signing of the Rio Protocol of 1942, which officially ended the Ecuadorian-Peruvian War, some 80,000 square miles (205,000 square kilometers) of previously disputed Amazon territory were awarded to Peru. Military conflict between the two countries continued until 1995, when a definitive peace treaty was signed. This history illustrates how Indigenous people whose ancestral homelands overlap multiple nation-states are affected by political conflicts.
Beetle-wing covers, beads, feathers, fiber
6 x 1 1/2 x 7 1/2 in. (15.2 x 3.8 x 19.1 cm) (show scale)
Museum Collection Fund
Three strands of iridescent green beetle-wing covers attached together with cotton thread. One strand has red beads at the top. Some have remnants of feathers. Used as ear ornaments.
Condition: some wing covers are broken.
Possibly Aguaruna. Strands of Beetle-Wing Covers, ca. 1930. Beetle-wing covers, beads, feathers, fiber, 6 x 1 1/2 x 7 1/2 in. (15.2 x 3.8 x 19.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Collection Fund, 37.474. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , 37.474_PS11.jpg)
overall, 37.474_PS11.jpg., 2020
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Are these beetle wings?
You sure do know your insect parts! Yes these are beetle wing covers from Peru. We believe these beautiful strands are from the Aguaruna or possibly Achuar people who live near the Marañón River.