Apa'yik

 
     

Apa'yik, or temascal, is the Chumash's sweathouse.  The Apa'yik was built mostly underground with wood poles curved overhead.  On top of the wood poles reeds and mud were placed leaving only a hole in the center. Hanging from that hole was a ladder for the Chumash to enter and exit the sweathouse.  

Within the sweathouse a fire was built and hot stones provided heat. Green leaves and branches were used in the fire to make it humid.  Dried willow was used as the primary wood- easily burnt and low smoke.  Different bags were hung around the room.  The bags contained various herbs and were burned depending on the occasion. 

The sweathouse was mostly used by men directly before a hunt or before a ceremony.  The Apa'yik allowed a hunter's scent to be masked before the hunt or purify his spirit and body.  The Apa'yik was also a meeting place for men when they needed to discuss an upcoming hunt or other event.

After remaining in the sweathouse for a period of time the men would then go and swim in a nearby creak or lake to rinse off the remaining scent before hunting.

 

   
 

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