Written following a visit to the exhibition on colour at the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology in Cambridge

Tapirage is performed through the external and/or internal application ofplant- and/ or animal-derived substances to particular species of bird. According to the sources compiled by Teixeira, these substances fall into three groups: plant dyes; blood and/or skin secretions from toads and frogs; and fats from fish, from pink river dolphins, from turtle, chicken or crocodilian eggs, or from plants, such as dende oil.12 The application itself takes two principal forms. The first, an external application, involves plucking feathers from the living bird and rubbing the exposed, traumatized follicles with an unguent of one or more of these substances. In time, the feathers to grow back in a new color, almost always partially or fully yellow.”


Crafts of Color: Tupi Tapirage in Early Colonial Brazil
Amy Buono
Chapman University, buono@chapman.edu