“Suddenly our plane dipped between the trees and landed on a strip of mud. As we scrambled out, we were greeted by Indians so picturesque that they might have stepped off a Hollywood set.

The men were naked but of a small balsa tie around their penises and carried bows and arrows. The women wore white feather tiaras; some wore straw air bands and monkey-teeth necklaces; a few had dyed their skin with urucum seeds, and both sexes carried mirrors in which they preened frequently. And all but the youngest had one remarkable adornment in common: a wooden tube the width of a bicycle handlebar drilled through their bottom lip. The Zo’é are an unusual tribe: women can take as many husbands and boyfriends as they like, and thirty something women are particularly prized”.

Words by Christina Lamb for Sunday Times Magazine