The Matto Grosso Expedition

Originally Published in 1933

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LATE in May there was installed on the lower floor a temporary exhibit of the results of the Matto Grosso Expedition of 1931, in which Mr. Vincent M. Petrullo served as the Museum’s representative. Through the generous and whole-hearted co-operation of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and particularly of Mr. James A.G. Rehn, the Academy’s representative on the Expedition, it has been possible to display not only objects in the Museum’s collection, but also an extremely interesting group of objects, particularly birds and animals, which are some of the Academy’s fruits of the work in the interior of Brazil. We wish that it were possible to continue this exhibition [Plate IV] for longer than circumstances now permit.

Mr. Petrullo’s report on his work with the Matto Grosso Expedition was published in the Museum Journal, volume XXIII, number 2. He has recently received a letter, from which we quote, written by General Candido Mariano Rondon, the organizer of the Inspectoria de Protecção aos Indios (the Brazilian Indian Service) and its former chief.

Exhibition hall showing artifacts from the Matto Grosso Expedition, a taxidermied fox on a pedestal in the center
Plate IV — Exhibition of Objects from Matto Grosso, Brazil

General Rondon writes: ‘I received with particular pleasure your book, Primitive Peoples of Matto Grosso, Brazil [the above-mentioned Journal] excellent repository of new ethnographic information of the region of the Upper Xingu, and valuable ethnographical contribution to the Americanist studies of our time. It amplifies the observations of von der Steinen, Meyer, and Max Schmidt, particularly since you were able to stay with the divers tribes a longer time than any other traveller. I consider your studies on this point more complete than all other preceding works. The reason for this is plain. The Matto Grosso Expedition was able to penetrate zones which its predecessors did not succeed in reaching; for this reason your observations are more ample and more thorough, which will permit more positive conclusions.

‘The aerial photographs, those showing the physical types of each tribe, and the ethnographic ones-among which those showing the Yawalapiti village and the details of the Naravute house deserve special notice-are very valuable.

‘Your study would have been indeed appreciated at the 25th International Congress of Americanists at La Plata as the greatest novelty of South America.

‘I anticipate my sincere and enthusiastic felicitations for the certain success of your future researches.’

Cite This Article

"The Matto Grosso Expedition." Museum Bulletin IV, no. 4 (June, 1933): 98-99. Accessed July 15, 2024.

This digitized article is presented here as a historical reference and may not reflect the current views of the Penn Museum.

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