blowgun, hollow tube from which a dart or an arrow is blown by a person's breath. The arrow was usually tipped with a poison, such as curare, which would stun or kill the struck prey. Blowguns were widely used by prehistoric peoples. In modern times they are still employed in SE Asia and by some indigenous peoples of the Amazon and Guiana regions of N South America.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.