Posted on 09/11/2007

Photo taken on September  8, 2007

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Tupulaq, East Greenland

Tupulaq, East Greenland
Originally the tupilaq was a creature composed of different materials such as animals parts, human hair, or even parts taken from a child's corpse. Those who knew about witchcraft, gathered these bits and pieces in a secret, isolated place, tied them together, chanted magic spells over them and allowed them to suck the energy from their own sexual organs.

Then the tupilaq was ready to be put into the sea and sent off to kill an enemy. This way of getting rid of one' s enemies, however, was not entirely without risk because if the targeted victim had greater powers of wizardry than the initiator, his power could reverse the tupilaq' s strength and potency like a boomerang. In other words, sending a tupilaq to harm an enemy was a dangerous game.

Nobody ever found a real tupilaq. They have vanished, as they were made of peri-shable materials and, besides, they were not meant to be seen by others anyway. When the first Europeans came to East Greenland and heard about tupilaqs, they were curious and wanted to know more about them. That's when people started carving tupilaqs to show them what they looked like.

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Vala Agnes
Vala Agnes
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9 years ago.