Handicraft / Artesanato
More information: http://www.palmas.org/palmasart.htm
Handicraft of Golden grass
The golden grass is a natural plant of the southeast region of Tocantins, known as Jalapão. Little is known about the origin of the plant that grows in Tocantins. It grows between the months of April and July and the harvest is between the months of August and September. Only in the last 50 years has the grass been utilized for objects of confection, at first only for personal use.
Mumbuca, village which is 32 km from the city of Mateiros, located 399 km from Palmas, is the birthplace of the craft. There, lives a population of former slaves, remnants of quilombos. However, this craft today is also produced in the towns of Prata (a village of San Felix), Ponte Alta and Novo Acordo. It is an art that passes from mother to child, from generation to generation. Some believe the origin of this art began with the coexistence with the Xerente Indians, who also work with this grass.
From golden grass are handcrafted bags, pots, bracelets, earrings, mandalas, (beautiful round wall hangings), hats, and decorations. There are nearly 50 different products created in rounded formats since the fiber does not allow folding.
Starting from the year 2000 golden grass products have become known in the large urban centers of Brazil, like Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Today it is found almost all over the country and also abroad. The Government of the State, through the Cultural Foundation, started encouraging the production by holding design workshops to improve the technique of artisans and thus making the pieces marketable.
Fibers from Palm Trees
Mats, hats, baskets and a multitude of products are created from the babassu and buriti straw, two common species of palm trees in northern Brazil. For a long time these artifacts were used by indigenous peoples and countrymen of Tocantins, and only now they are gaining the status of decorative handicrafts.
The most diverse pieces have been fashioned from these fibers. They work as coadjutants of other raw materials to tie pieces of golden grass or appear in details of wood products. Widely used by indigenous peoples disseminated throughout the state, the fibers show all its versatility according to the customs of each region.
A ceramic with pre-historic paintings
Located 54 km from Palmas, the Tocantins capital, Lajeado is a small town surrounded by several tourist attractions, such as mountains and waterfalls, and from where comes one of the most beautiful crafts of the region. Its pottery is highlighted by a small detail: after the discovery of dozens of archaeological sites in the region with records of human presence in prehistoric times through rock drawings and traces of pottery, the town’s craftsmen began to work with the same traits of its first residents.
After taken out of the oven, the ceramic with reddish tones is transformed into decorative and useful objects. There are sets of dishes, pots, jars, glasses, cups – more than 50 items with pre-historic like drawings. These traits stand out for their simplicity and delicacy and demonstrate the zeal of the artisans who found in their job the opportunity to win the Brazilian and international markets.
Jewels in filigree of Nativity
The exploration of gold in the north of Goias, today Tocantins state, began in the first half of the eighteenth century. In 1723, the explorer Bueno Bartolomeu da Silva announced the discovery of gold in the region. Since then, the race in search of the mining areas would lead to the creation of settlements as Nativity (1734), Traíras and São Jose do Tocantins (1735), Porto Real (today, Porto Nacional, 1738), Arraias and Cavalcante (1740) , Santa Luzia (1746) and Cocal (1749). The Goiás mines produced, between 1750 and 1754, 37.31% of all Brazilian gold, number exceeded only by the state of Minas Gerais.
Important factor for the development of a region until then little inhabited, gold has important roots in Tocantins, especially in Nativity, which has also developed a type of craft inherited by the Portuguese and virtually abandoned in other Brazilian regions: the manufactory of jewelry in filigree craft. The art is passed to young people of the city through jewelry workshops.
Master Juvenal is one of the most respected teachers in the field. In addition to the traditional items such as the fish, together with his students he creates jewels of rare beauty, not just for their design, but especially for the details manually created in gold or silver threads. They are hearts, flowers, passion fruits and golden gras, etc., crafted for pendants, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings.
The indigenous handicrafts are used as decorations, to compose the clothing used in rituals, to serve as domestic utensils, and also to market. The Karajás are excellent craftsmen of arts with feathers and ceramics. The Akwe (Xerente) are considered the people of the “twisting” (basketry) and Timbiras (Apinajé and Krahô) are specialists in the art and artifacts of twisting the seeds of the native savannah.
The baskets are used in the transport and storage of supplies and also as decorative pieces. The technique is taught by the older to the younger who want to learn. Children learn by drawing in the sand, then transporting the same design to the straw. The reasons are passed from generation to generation and represent the flora and fauna. The baskets are made of babassu and bacaba palms, tucum silk and buriti fruit.
For the creation of ceramics the indigenous use specific clay called dish clay. They mix the clay with the ashes of “cega machado” tree, place it in the sun to dry, and then burn it in the traditional oven. Ultimately, the piece is painted in black and red. The pottery are made by women for daily use – pots, plates, and bowls, or ornamental the “ritxoko and ritxoo dolls. The ceramic miniatures represent the daily lives of the Iny People (Karajá) like delivery, hunting and fishing. There are pictures of animals found on the Bananal Island, like jaguars, tapir, alligator, tucano bird, ariranha and paca.
Source: 04/09/2008 – SECOM – Tocantins Government