VOYAGE TO THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTER Rolf Blomberg click
Rolf Blombeg, explorer, naturalist, writer, photographer and documentary filmmaker; was a pioneer in the protection of Nature and of Human Rights. He made important contributions to a wide range of fields, from biology to journalism.
Rolf Blomberg was born in Sweden on November 11th, 1912. He was an explorer, writer, photographer and filmmaker. In 1934 he arrived for the first time to the Galapagos Islands and to Ecuador. This expedition was followed by a whole life of travels and chronicles within a time span of fifty years. During Second World War Blomberg stayed in Indonesia as a neutral War Correspondent. He participated in resistance organizations and helped people trapped in Japanese concentration camps. After the war he returned to Ecuador and made efforts for a pacific contact with the Huaoranis Indians from the Ecuadorian jungle. He also made six dangerous expeditions looking for the Inca treasure hidden by Rumiñahui, presumably located at the LLanganates area. He discovered the world's largest toad, called Bufo blombergi. He produced 33 documentary films for the Swedish Television and was the leader of several expeditions to produce long films in Ecuador, Indonesia, Australia, Colombia, Brazil and Peru. Rolf Blomberg was member of the Explorers Club of New York since 1955, having been elected Emeritus Member. He was also member of the Travelers Club of Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo in Sweden. Blomberg's literary production includes 20 books and hundreds of articles published in important magazines such as Life, Sea Frontiers and National Geographic, among others. Many of his
books were translated to Spanish, English, Danish, Norwegian, Russian, Czech and Polish. Three fourths of his production has Ecuador as main topic, its culture, nature and history. As a photographer he was a member of the Full Hand Swedish group of photographers. With his very special Hasselblad camera, that was provided by Victor Hasselblad himself, he took more than 35.000 images from the whole globe, focusing in Nature and a large diversity of Ethnic groups. The continuous lectures held by Blomberg in Sweden contributed so that the Scandinavian got in touch with remote places like Ecuador in a time lacking Television and other technological improvements of our time. His work has always been published abroad and has been an important influence for social scientists around the world. His reports on human rights violations of ethnic groups inspired the creation of organizations such as Cultural Survival (London) and Iwgia (Oslo). These organizations have contributed in assuming the importance of cultural identity amongst Ecuadorians and participated in the flourishing of social and cultural studies in Ecuador. His bond with Ecuador was strengthened through marriage with two Ecuadorian women. The first one, Emma Robinson, deceased in 1952. With his second wife, Araceli Gilbert, he settled in Ecuador in 1968, till his death on December 8th, 1996.
Bufo blomberg was discovered by Rolf Blomberg in 1950 in El Madrigal, South of Colombia. It is considered the biggest toad in the world. It can reach 25 to 30cm of length. Apart of Colombia, it also lives in the Esmeraldas rainforest, North of Ecuador. Living only in restricted areas, this species is nowadays in danger of extinction.
In early 1934 Rolf Blomberg stopped in Panama on his way to Ecuador in South America. While strolling along the city he came upon a curiosity and antique shop owned by a Hindu man . His attention was drawn to a small black head the size of an orange, when inquiring he found out it was a “tzantza“ a human shrunken head from the Amazon jungle of Ecuador. A special Indian tribe called the “jibaros“ in those times, were the authors of that war trophy. This sparked a huge interest in young Blomberg who decided to organize an expedition to visit these headhunters. First he needed to complete his task of visiting the Galapagos Islands and then return to the Atlantic Ocean through the Amazon jungle of Ecuador, Peru and Brazil. Not until 1936 was he able to complete this expedition. As a result of this journey a book was published (Högkvarter hos huvudjägare, Headquarters with Headhunters, Gebers, Stockholm, 1938) ,a documentary film was produced (I kanot till huvudjägarnas land , In Canoe to the Land of the Head Hunters ) and a large amount of photographs were taken. This expedition lasted for 5 months, more small groups were visited but not many allowed photography or filming to take place. Large collections were made of ethnographic artifacts as well as different animal species were collected for several Swedish museums.
Later on in 1961 he returned to the same area only to find that his friendly but fierce host old chief Chumbela and his family had been killed in tribal disputes with other jivaro groups. Again a new book was published with this new material (Äventyr i djungel ,Jungle Adventures ,Folket i bild, Stockholm, 1962.) as well as a new documentary was filmed. (Jibaros, ett djungelfolk Jibaros, a Jungle Tribe). This photo presentation is some of the material produced in these two trips. It shows the jivaro tribe in its family life, daily chores, hunting, celebrating and much more. You may see fierce warriors, women, artists, and children as well as the landscape and difficulties of reaching the far away regions. The first trip was mostly performed by foot and in paddling canoes and rafts. In the second expedition a small plane was used but still the last part of the journey was by water. Most communities built their chonta wood wall houses next to rivers. Blomberg was able to accompany his friends in several activities such as fishing, hunting, dancing and the most beautiful spectacle: whole families bathing and enjoying the river!! Marcela Blomberg Archivo Blomberg Quito-Ecuador www.archivoblomberg.org