Trail of Feathers: In Search of the Birdmen of Peru

Trail of Feathers: In Search of the Birdmen of Peru
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Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Shipped to over one million happy customers. Your purchase benefits world literacy! Ships from IN. About the Book Find at your local library Description A shrunken head from Peru and a feather with traces of blood are the clues that launch Tahir Shah on his latest journey. Fall Clearance! It's the perfect time to enjoy a hot drink and good book! Take this opportunity to browse our Clearance Sale!

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date. For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now. Javascript is not enabled in your browser. Enabling JavaScript in your browser will allow you to experience all the features of our site. Learn how to enable JavaScript on your browser. NOOK Book. But soon he's trekking in the high Andes, where he pitches up at Machu Picchu, the Incas' most sacred city, and one associated with the condor.

From the metropolis of Cusco he motors out to a mysterious island on Lake Titicaca.

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Gathering treasures, curiosities, and dubious companions along the way, the author follows his trail to the coastal desert and the baffling puzzle of the Nazca Lines. It was these inexplicable etchings in rock, so huge that the animal forms they represent can only be grasped from the air -- that is, while flying -- that Erich Von Daniken attributed to aliens in his Chariots of the Gods.

Is it any surprise that ancient cloth from a nearby burial ground bears images of birdmen? After an encounter with a guinea pig-wielding shaman, it's off to the Amazon, where the author joins a Vietnam vet on an epic journey deep into the jungle to uncover the secrets of the Shuar, a tribe of legendary savagery reputed for their expertise with ayahuasca, the mind-altering "Vine of the Dead.

With his trademark humor, abundant curiosity, and oddball assortment of companions from scholars to smugglers, from conmen to madmen, and from shepherds to shamans, he offers a journey that is no less illuminating than it is hilarious -- and true. For him, there's nothing so important as deciphering the hidden underbelly of the lands through which he travels.


Insisting that we can all be explorers, he says there's wonderment to be found wherever we are - it's just a matter of seeing the world with fresh eyes. Tahir Shah's books have appeared in thirty languages and in more than seventy editions.

Tahir Shah

Trail of Feathers is a travel book by Anglo-Afghan author, Tahir Shah. It is set in Peru and the Upper Amazon. Trail of Feathers: In Search of the Birdmen of Peru [Tahir Shah] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A shrunken head from Peru and a feather.

They are celebrated for their original viewpoint, and for combining hardship with vivid description. He also makes documentary films, which are shown worldwide on National Geographical Television, and The History Channel. While researching the programme Shah was arrested along with his film crew and incarcerated in a Pakistani torture jail, where they spent sixteen terrifying days and nights.

Tahir Shah lives at Dar Khalifa, a sprawling mansion set squarely in the middle of a Casablanca shantytown.

He's married to the graphic designer, Rachana Shah, and has two children, Ariane and Timur. His father was the Sufi writer, Idries Shah. Anxious with greed, a pack of dealers and curiosity-hunters pushed into the library where the sale was about to begin. They had come by strict invitation, as the learned British society was eager to avoid the press. In the current climate of political correctness trophy heads are regarded as an embarrassment, something to be disposed of as quietly as possible.

For years I had been an admirer of this unusual handicraft, and was desperate to start a collection of my own.

Trail of Feathers

Even though I'd managed to squirm my way onto the underground auction lists, I was lacking the funds of a serious collector. The shrunken head business is a small one, with only a few major players world-wide. I recognised most of them, as they lolled back on their chairs, their wax jackets wet with rain, their hands damp with sweat. All were well aware that such exquisite tsantsas are rarely put up for sale. Wasting no time, the society's secretary held up the first miniature head.

Framed in a mane of jet-black hair, its skin was gnarled, its facial features distended. The nose was dark and shiny, and the lips had been sewn together with a magnificent length of interwoven twine. The dealers leaned forward, and swallowed hard, as the bidding began. Fifteen minutes later the auction was over.

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All eleven heads had been sold to the same Japanese collector. Well-known and equally well disliked, he'd been trying to corner the shrunken head market for years.

Flying Eagle ~ Sacred Feathers

As we filed out, I got chatting to an elderly Frenchman. He waswearing a Norfolk jacket and brown suede brogues, and said he'd come from Paris for the sale. Like me, he was going home headless and empty-handed.

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We shared a mutual interest in ethnographic curiosities. The Frenchman looked me in the eye and said that if he were forty years younger, he would drop everything and go to Peru. I didn't go after him. For, at shrunken head sales, you get more than the usual smattering of madmen. It was post-marked Paris.

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Average rating 3. From the metropolis of Cusco he motors out to a mysterious island on Lake Titicaca. Or, the author wondered, was the Spanish cleric alluding to flight of a different kind — flight inspired by a powerful hallucinogen? With the night to cloak me, I went in search of a patch of field in which to purge my faltering digestive tract. Rating details. It was the birdmen that found Tahir Shah. The Earth Is the Lord's.

Inside was a rust-coloured feather and a slip of paper. The feather was evidently old. Three triangular notches had been cut into one side. It appeared to have been dipped in blood many years before. On one side of the paper was a crude sketch of a man with wings; on the reverse was a single sentence in classic French script.

Trail of Feathers

Was there a connection between shrunken heads and men with wings? While at the British Library a few days later, I looked up 'Calancha'. There was only one author by this name, Friar Antonio de la Calancha. A single work was credited to him. Bound in dull speckled calf, with dented corners, it was a huge book, as long as the Bible. The tooled spine was embossed Barcelona Eight woodcuts adorned the title page.

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Hidden categories: Webarchive template wayback links. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. Languages Add links. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. First UK edition. Peru , exploration.