Skillful Hands in Making and Using Poison
Poisonous arrows were the invention of the ancestors of Lhoba people. Since the mountains
are covered with dense woods, after being hit by a poisonous arrow, few animals could
escape. Therefore, such arrows came into being.
Poison making is a dangerous job and there are a lot of taboos about
it. "AMU"is a kind of plant growing on high mountains over el. 5000 m. Lhoba people use its stalks to make poison. If they
want to keep the effect of the poison longer, they would add some "GUOBI"in it.
First they would grind the two plants into powder with stones, after mixing the powder
with water, they would paint the mixture on the arrowheads. People must take good care
when they are making poison and they must be sure that they have no wounds on their hands.
They must also cover their mouths with their clothes and they make the poison following
wind. If they want to try the effect of the poison, they would cut a small opening in a
chicken and put some powder on the cut. Then, they throw the chicken in the air and the
chicken would die when it falls down.
learn that Lhoba people have the habit to poison others. The Lhoba people we contact did
not deny this at all. No one knows the origin of such habits. But they do this because
they have a wishful thinking to deprive other people of their happiness. If a
distinguished guest comes to visit a Lhoba family, the Lhoba host would put the poison in
the nail of his (her) thumb when they toast. When the wine saturates the nail, the poison
would incubate. The incubation period could be as short as 10-15 days or it could be as
long as 10-20 years. They believe once a person is poisoned, his happiness would transfer
to the person who poisoned him. There is another saying about this. It goes that Lhoba
women are more skillful poison makers. In the past, men always go out to exchange goods;
if they have money and they stay a longer time outside, they would hunt women and would be
reluctant go home. His wife would calculate the date he needs on the journey and then
poison him. If the husband did not come back by that time, the poison would take effect.
He would have to go home to ask for anti-poison medicines from his wife. It's strange that
they could produce the most advanced poison with the most primitive method!