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guatemalan slingshots / hondas de guatemala

guatemalan folk art / artesanía tradicional de guatemala

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Amoung the Maya, slingshots are more than just weapons ...they are art!

Entre la Maya hondas son mas que armas ...son arte.

Drawing of Guatemalan hunter using a slingshot

For longer than anyone knows Mayan men of the Western Highlands of Guatemala have hunted small game with hand-carved slingshots. Lizards, birds, armadillos, squirrels - any animal vulnerable to flying stones, can end up as the main course in the next family meal. To this day men often keep a slingshot near at hand in the hope that some careless creature strays in range.

Not being a hunter, my personal interest in slingshots is as art, specifically folk art, and Guatemalan slingshots, the best of them anyway, are wonderful folk art. So what makes a ‘good’ slingshot good? Over the past thirty plus years, I have rummaged through many many thousands of them and I always look for just one thing. Does it ‘speak’ to me? That’s it. Most don’t. Here are some of the few that do.

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Parrot - I think, but it could be any bird with a beak. Old and well worn. Hard wood.

Parrot / Loro

$150 USD / Q1145 QTZ

Tall. Holding a bowl. Hard wood.

Man with Bowl / Hombre con Taza

$175 USD / Q1335 QTZ

Unique shape. Rustic carving. Hard wood.

Monkey Eating / Mono Comiendo

$125 USD / Q955 QTZ

Tall tiger with one crystal eye. Good condition. Hard wood.

Tall Tiger / Tigre Alto

$175 USD / Q1335 QTZ

Rustic. Nails for eyes and mouth. Stained red. Relativly old. Hard wood.

Arms Crossed / Brasos Crusados

$75 USD / Q575 QTZ

Monkey. Leather tie loop nailed on after original slots broke off. Blue paint spashed on side. Hard wood.

Monkey / Mono

$175 USD / Q1335 QTZ

Voluptuios lady. Old, but still in good shape. Great patina. Medium hard wood.

Voluptuous Lady / Dama Voluptuosa

$225 USD / Q1715 QTZ

Tall shinny man with arms raised. Relativly old. Hard wood.

Skinny Man / Flaco

$200 USD / Q1525 QTZ

squirrel slingshot
Our slingshots are sold without elastic bands as the rubber disintegrates with age. This is an example of how they look in use. español

Here slingshots are not toys. They are weapons, real weapons that were made and used to put meat on the table.

None of the slingshots you find on this site are new. Just how old varies from piece to piece, and is difficult to determine. Some that look ancient may have been used hard for a decade or so years, other looking equally old may have been used sparingly for fifty years or more. In either case the patina and wear you see come from years of use.

One questions I often get is why isn’t the ‘Y’ wider? You would think that the projectile would hit your thumb, and indeed I can tell you from painful personal experience it's true, however there is a simple trick to avoid the suffering. The instant a hunter lets a stone fly, he flicks his wrist forward and downward letting the projectile pass safely over his hand.

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