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Mapuches, Southern Chile Indians.

I bought these papier-maché and cloth dolls in Santiago in a 'village' dedicated to Chilian handcrafts. They are completely handmade, by Forma Diseñadores (Santiago). Here is the information written on the tag:

Mapu: Land; Che: People. People of the land. A people which inhabits the region of the Araucania in the south of Chile and Argentina. This was the indigenous population which resisted the Spanish conquest in America for the longest time. Alonso de Arcilla named them Araucanos (from Auca: man of iron, untiring warrior). Their vitality has permitted the survival of their language, religion, and traditions. Currently the Mapuche population in Chile is half a million people.

The typcal woman's costume consists of a black dress and a wide woven manta that protects her from the cold and rain. She adorns her hair with colored ribbons and wears traditional silver jewelry: the trarilonco (for the forehead and head), the chaway (earrings or pendants), the trapela kucha and sikil (pectoral ornament) and the tupu (needle or pin used to close the manta). The man wears the trarinñimiñ (manta of the chief), a woven trarilonco and he carries a cultrún (musical instrument).

Their shoes are real leather. I was told that their sad mood really fits the Mapuches, who are very serious people.

Other dolls from Forma Diseñadores were available: Aymara (Andes indians), Huasos (see my puppet ), and Chilotes (fishermen). But I had no spare room in my luggage. I don't know if the Company still exists.

Santiago de Chile, 1995.

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