On the trail of Calinago Ethnographic Objects from the Lesser Antilles in European Museums

Author(s): André Delpuech

Year: 2016


From the first contacts with the Amerindians, conquerors, voyagers, missionaries and so on have brought back to Europe numerous attributes of the New World: natural curiosities as well as manufactured objects. Various historical sources attest to the presence in France of seventeenth and eighteenth century Amerindian objects from the Lesser Antilles in some cabinets of curiosities. Today, paradoxically, not a single object in contemporary collections is attributed to the Calinago or so called “Island Caribs” anymore. However, several French museums hold seventeenth and eighteenth, and even sixteen century collections of the American continent, some of which certainly contain pieces from the Caribbean region. The majority of these pieces is until now recorded as originating from the lowlands of South America. Nevertheless, these attributions are not based on any exact information; being poorly or not documented at all, the precise origins of these collections (clubs, basketry, feathered apparel, bows and arrows, etc.) remain to be determined. It is likely that some of these objects originate from the Lesser Antilles and are thus testimony to the material culture of the Amerindians who occupied the islands upon the arrival of the Europeans.

Cite this Record

On the trail of Calinago Ethnographic Objects from the Lesser Antilles in European Museums. André Delpuech. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404040)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -90.747; min lat: 3.25 ; max long: -48.999; max lat: 27.683 ;