Objects of the Forest

MATERIAL: Straw from Arumã or Jacitara.

TECHNIQUE: Hand-woven in a way that allows the fibers to move.

USE: Separate liquid (water and poison) from the solid part of the cassava. Grated cassava roots are put inside the Tipiti and it is then stretched in order to extract the liquid.

Tipiti Squeezer

  • This is a tool created specifically for processing cassava, one of the basic food staples in the Amazon region. Despite being poisonous – it contains hydrocyanic acid, which is lethal – if handled correctly every part of it can turn into food, from roots to leaves: farinha (flour), polvilho, biju, maniva and tucupi are just some of the products.

    Tipiti is a sort of squeezer made of the straw from local plants, such as Arumã or Jacitara. These are hand-woven in a way that allows the fibers to move. It has an appearance similar to that of a long, narrow cylindrical basket, with an opening on top and two handles: the first is used to anchor its position, and the other to introduce a lever and pull it. The tipiti is used to separate liquid (water and poison) from the solid part of the cassava.

    For a long time this was a means of survival in the Amazon. Today, with the diminishing number of traditional flour production houses, the use of tipiti is dwindling, and the knowledge of this object’s production is gradually lost. The tipiti today is encountered mainly seen as a souvenir, available in different sizes.

    • After grating, the cassava roots are put inside the Tipiti. The tool is then stretched in order to extract the liquid. This operation and the release of poisonous water are only possible due to the way the fibers are crafted. The solid material that resonates inside the tipiti is the flour’s raw material.

    • When not in use, the tipiti is kept hanging in the roof structure of the flour production house.

    • The Jacitara is one of the plants from which the straws are used to weave the tipiti.

    • Detail of the tipiti construction.

    • tipiti

      The Cassava flour that can be produced with the tipiti is still vital for the nourishment of many Amazonian populations.

    • tipiti

      The Cassava plant contains mortal amounts of Hydrocyanic Acid.

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