The Amazonian fruit with history, Wituk

The wituk It is an Amazonian fruit from a tree, used for natural hair treatment, face and body painting. In addition, it is used for painting rituals in the traditional festival of Sarayaku (Uyantza). The wituk is an integral part of the clothing of the Kichwa Runa

In ancient times, they say that the wituk was a beautiful woman who, after a sentimental disappointment, became a wituk tree to give encouragement and happiness to all women and men on earth by painting their faces with its fruit.

The Wituk Woman has her sister, Manduro (achiote), who like her, because of a disappointment, became the achiote tree; together they painted all the birds, birds and animals that exist in the Amazon, giving it color and joy.

Uses of the Wituk

To paint, the top of this Amazonian fruit is cut off, the insides are removed with a knife, and it is roasted over low heat until the flesh turns black. In that squeeze the fruit to recover the liquid.

The body parts are painted with cotton; and, for facial paintings, thin sticks of inayu (palm) are used. For the hair, the fruit is grated with a shiquita (a natural grater that is extracted from the palm called chingu); then its juice is squeezed little by little into the hair until it is all moistened with the liquid, this process is carried out three times a day for three days without rinsing in the water.

Wituk we use it at every party, at every minga, on Sundays when we have chichita in our houses or at other important events; Sarayaku men and women paint our wituk faces to honor and remember the beauty of the Wituk Woman. In addition, each design symbolizes jungle beings and strong animals that possess energies such as the anaconda, the puma and other animals.

The Wituk is an expression of Sarayaku that manifests the intrinsic coexistence with the Living Forest – Kawsak Sacha

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Image credit Misha Vallejo

Read other Sarayaku stories in our section Sarayaku kikin kawsay.

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Puyo Office: Francisco de Orellana and General Villamil Telephone +593 32 896 999  ©2022  Original Kichwa People of Sarayaku

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