Karajá Ritxòcò dolls
Brazil | South América
The centuries-old Karajá Ritxòkò dolls are a significant cultural reference for the Karajá people (Araguaia River, Brazil).
Its production is an activity exclusively of the women and involves ancestral techniques that are still handed down from generation to generation. It is only through the mixture of white clay, taken from the bottom of rivers, and the ashes of the blind-axe (Physocalymma sacaberrimum Pohl) - a very hard wood tree - that the clay reaches the ideal consistency to resist the molding and process, developed by Wexiru, a potter of the Karajá people. After dried and cleaned, the ceramic pieces are painted in black and red with charcoal, jenipapo and urucum and decorated with motifs related to body painting and traditional Karajá clothing. It was from the identification of their production process that the Ritxòkò dolls gained recognition as Intangible Heritage of the Brazilian Culture - IPHAN: National Historical and Artistic Heritage Institute - in 2012. There are currently 4 groups of Karajá Ritxòkò dolls: ancient (legless and armless), mythical and cosmological beings (representations of legends), ritualists (representations of rituals) and moderns (representations of everyday life). More than merely playful objects, Ritxòkò dolls are considered cultural representations that carry deep social meanings, reproducing the Karajá's sociocultural and family order. It is with these dolls that Karajá children learn to socialize and also about their culture, obligations, language and the legends of their people, for example.
Secular inhabitants of the banks of the Araguaia River in the states of Goiás, Tocantins and Mato Grosso, in Brazil, the Karajá maintain their traditional customs, language and rites. Their temporary coexistence in cities seeks ways to claim their territorial rights, access to health, bilingual education, etc. There are currently around 3600 Karajás.
The Karajá Ritxòkò dolls selected by ethiCollective are handmade by the ceramist Deborea Karajá from Ilha do Bananal, Tocantins, Brazil.