Uwene (Shaman's Chair)

Uwene / Shaman's Chair ~ Photograph ©Juan Negrín 1981 - 2023 All rights reserved.

The attached photograph is a good example of a traditional uwene from the Tuapurie community, where the chairs are made with a more elaborate back. The uwene, often referred to as the shaman's chair, is strong and usually lasts for generations if it is well made of the right materials and is not abused. 

The back of the uwene is supported by two legs that are reinforced by a sturdy cross frame that is tied and then glued with the native plant mixture called kuetsukuai. The preferable wood for the frame of the chair is brazilwood, ützate, used in combination with mature bamboo, hakute. The woven bamboo seat is adjusted using pieces of bamboo twisted together and then tied with a leather rope. The backrest is made with pieces of bamboo that have been debarked so that they can be twisted without breaking them.

Two different native plants are individually ground, burned, and then combined with the ashes to make a sticky substance, called kuetsukuai, which is used to reinforce the chair and fix the decorative backrest. These two plants must be ground when they are mature or they do not produce a strong enough adhesive.