guantanamo city .org - The land between rivers

The Cemí

From the hands of half-naked men who inhabited the eastern entrance of the Cuban archipelago, issued the engraving Cemi of Gran Tierra, the most important antillean aborigine sculpture with a schematized human representation, about five centuries ago.

guantanamo city .org - The Cemí

The figure at issue measures 92 centimeters height in an extended and semi cylindrical shape like a tobacco, engraved on the very strong wood of Guayacan Negro, a tree originative from the southeast part ok Cuba.

Those primitive settlers utilized beautiful sea-shell characteristics of the eastern part of the archipelago, in order to conform the eyes, nose, and other human features from the one who was one of their gods.

At the Gran Tierra table-land, sea terrace at Maisi municipality in Guantánamo, at the beginning ok the late century, two countrymen accidentally discovered the important sculpture - the most accident conserved in Cuba – which is exposed at Doctor Luis Montane Anthropological Museum in Havana University at the present time.

The Cemi of Gran Tierra is also known as the Tobacco Idol, presumably by its resemblance with a gigantic black tobacco. This aborigine relic embodies the image of one of the Taino gods, also found on stone engravings, which the most spectacular was found in 1915 in the inner part of La Patana Cavern at Maisi, engraved on a stalagmite over a meter tall, beside another six engravings that form animal figures.

The discoverer was the North American archaeologist Mark Harrington who based in the three parts with a sow the calcareous formation and moved it to the American Indian Museum in New York where it is still exposed.

In 1997 Guantánamo Government approved, after a popular consultation, that the Cemi of Gran Tierra would be from then on the symbol of the province. Copies of the sphinx in small format are delivered each year to personalities with an important contribution to the development of this mountaineer territory, one of the riches archaeological places in Cuba.