the picture to see
enlargement and

Installation of the
16th century
cacique Anacaona
on her dujo inside
an Iguanaboina
BACK Taíno & Carib
Atabey or Attabeira
Atte = mother. Iba =
lake or lagoon. "Mother
of Waters". She is the
virgin mother of the
Supreme Being,

and the sister
of Guacar the Moon.
She is the goddess of
childbirth who is
depicted in the sitting
position of a frog. She
is associated with fresh
water in rivers and
Left: Itiba Cahubaba (the "Blood-Bathed Old Earth Mother") giving birth. She represents the source of all life.
Right: Deminan Caracaracol and his three "twin" brothers inside their mother's cave-like womb. Itiba died while giving a
cesarean birth to four sons. The first son was Deminan Caracaracol. The other three were nameless. There is a story that
relates how Deminan was responsible for taking down an urn with the bones from the ceiling of a god named Yaya. Yaya's
disrespectful son Yaya-el, was exiled by his father for wanting to kill him. Yaya-el disobeyed his father and returned from
exile, Yaya slew his son. Then, Yaya hung the bones of his son in an urn in his house. The bones turned into fishes.
Deminan sneaked into Yaya's house while he was away, took down the urn and hung it up badly. The urn fell,spilling out
many fish. This is a great flood story about the origin of the sea.

In another story Deminan also gained entrance into the god Bayamanaco's house under the pretext that he wanted the
old god to teach him how to prepare food from the yuca plant. When Deminan entered Bayamanaco's house and made
his request, the old man put a finger to his nose and blew a charge that struck Deminan's back between the shoulders.
The charge was full of powdered tobacco (snuff). Deminan returned to his brothers and told them what had happened.
They saw that a tumor had appeared on Deminan's back. It was swelling to such a size that Deminan was at the point of
death. The brothers were unable to open it, until they gave the tumor a blow with an axe. Out came a living female
tortoise. The four built a home and reared the tortoise. It is from this union with the turtle that the four brothers
engendered the human race. These brothers settled down, acquired fire, cassava and tobacco that heralded the human
settlement of an agricultural community. These "twins" of Mother Earth also personified the winds of the four directions.
The Jamaican-born artist, Michael Auld has devoted many of his sculptures and prints to indigenous American
aesthetics, especially to lesser known Taíno themes.

“The world owes a debt of gratitude to the indigenous people of the Americas. Sixty percent of the food eaten
on this planet came from ancient South and Central American horticulturists. Some of these major foodstuffs
were first taken from Taíno gardens and forests at the time of Columbus' 1492 Caribbean Encounter.
I believe that as an artist born in the Americas, I should create works that reflect indigenous American
aesthetics and awareness. We profited from the labors of the Taíno civilization and we must return the honor
that is due to the millions of indigenous American survivors.”
Yucahu Bagua
Yuca-hu = yuca. Bagua
= ocean.
Maorocoti =
"spirit, without male
ancestor". The Taino
Supreme Being. His
name means "Spirit,
without male ancestor,
of the yuca and the
sea". He was also
known as
Yucahuguama [yuca =
"the spirit of the yuca" +
guama "lord"]
Opie, "spirit of those
absent". Watchdog of the
House of the Dead. At
night he runs through the
forest to guide the recently
deceased on their journey
Coaybay, the Island of
the Dead. His bark that
could not be heard by the
living, was intended to
drive spirits back to their
underworld dwelling before
daybreak when the sun
would turn them into
wandering ghosts
Powhatan Museum
of Indigenous Arts and Culture
The Taíno Gallery
The Sun, (identified with
the iguana).
The Taíno creation
story related how the
sun turned various
beings that ventured
out of a mythological
"Origin Cave" into
stone, birds or trees. All
Taínos originated from
one of these twin caves
Guahayona (Gwa-ha-yo-na), in his barracuda designed canoe.
His name means "Our Pride". He is the epic hero of the Taíno who used cleverness and
wisdom during his exploits. In one story he implored women to, "Leave your husbands behind
and let us go to other lands" and take with us much
gueyo (green chewing tobacco mixed
with salty ashes obtained from an algae). He was thought to be the first shaman associated
with, among other things,  tobacco and the healing of syphilis. On his first voyage, Columbus
recorded a segment of the Guahayona epic which the Spanish took literally in their search for
Amazons and gold.
Left: Boinayel. mboi = serpent. una = dark. His name
means Son (el) of the Dark Cloud-Serpent (
It was told that the sun and the moon rose from a cave
Iguanaboina in the country of a cacique named

Right: Marohu (ma = without. aro = clouds). Boinayel's
twin brother is the
iguana lizard whose serrated dorsal
crest suggests the rays of the sun. Marohu and
Bionayel are the twins of the cave of the Radiant Iguana
and Dark Serpent. They are the Lord of Good weather
and his twin the Lord of the Rain.
Left: Guanin (14k gold).
Guahayona soon left the
women behind and went off to
another region called Guanín.

Left: Matinino ("No Fathers"),
Guahayona "came to Matinino
where he soon left the women
behind, " The women had left their
small children behind. Soon the
hungry children began to cry "toa,
toa" asking with deep desire and in
a great voice to be nursed. This
turned the  children into small ,
frog-like animals called "tona".
From that time on the frog was held
to be the voice of springtime.
CLICK ON the picture to see
enlargement and detail

A wall sculpture of the angry
wind goddess of the hurricane.
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