Fishing Spear From The Amazon Basin
(The item for sale may differ slightly from the spear in the photograph)
To put food on the table by throwing a pointed object at a fish requires no small amount of skill. Likewise, the fabrication of fishing spears or fletchas requires the hand of a dedicated craftsman. The result is a wonderful mix of salvaged metal, and ancient handicrafts that combine to make the typical fletcha found in the Amazon Rainforest.
Usually the craftsman starts with a series of long spike nails he has bartered from a passing cargo boat. He heats the nails and back-cuts them with a machete to make the barbs. Two or three of the spikes are tied together on a wooden plug to make the spear head. Resin from the copal tree is used to secure the wrapping. Finally the craftsman secures the head to a strong reed found along the river's edge.
For big fish, fletchas are built like a harpoon with a detachable point that trails off a line from the shaft. With the floating shaft as a buoy, the fisherman can locate the line and maneuver his catch. The fletcha is kept ready with the point in place and the trailing line wrapped neatly around the shaft. The detachable part of the head is fashioned from a variety of materials--wood, metal, even the empty cartridge of a shotgun shell.
Note: The spear in the photograph may vary slightly form the one I'm selling, but it is still representative of the item for sale.
I hope this piece will find a home where the workmanship can be appreciated and stories of its use told to admirers.
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