Sunday, February 16, 2014

Chile, Traiguen: Mapuche woman

Mapuche indigenous people of southern Chile and Argentina have long preserved a tradition of silverwork, producing elaborate jewelry that illuminates their ethnic identity. Silver, in its cool luminosity often has had a lunar association, thus it is not surprising that several writers have used phrases like "tears of the moon" to describe pieces of Mapuche silverwork.... These allusions are particularly appropriate because Mapuche women traditionally wrapped themselves in a square of black cloth, called a kepam, against which, like the night sky. Mapuche pieces typically have consisted of several sizable disks and rectangles hammered quite thin, connected to form an extensive surface area. There is an aural or even musical aspect as well, because the silver plates and bangles jingle in unison like so many little chimes. To the Mapuche this is important, as they believe the tintineo, or tinkling sound, chases away malevolent spirits. 

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