Manatee and war drum, 18th century

Manatee and war drum, 18th century


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Manatee and war drum. South American Indian using a war drum (bottom). This artwork is from 'El Orinoco Ilustrado' (1741, The Orinoco illustrated) by Jesuit priest Jose Gumilla (1686-1750) who lived in the area for 35 years. This work is a natural history of the Orinoco River region. Gumilla described the flora and fauna and the customs of the indigenous peoples of the area. Manatees (sea cows) are aquatic herbivorous mammals. The West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) is found in shallow, marshy coastal areas and rivers of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

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