Artículos mapuches y sus usos originales

Mapuche items and their original uses

The Mapuches, one of the oldest and most distinctive indigenous peoples in Chile, have inherited a rich cultural tradition that includes a varied range of objects and utensils that have played a fundamental role in their daily lives. Among these, the chaiwe, wanco, pilwa, yepo and the papero basket stand out, which originally served specific purposes in the life of this native people. As history has advanced and needs have evolved, these objects have undergone transformations in their use, but they remain cultural treasures of great value.

The Pilwa (bag in Mapudungun) is a traditional bag that has been used for decades by the Mapuche Lafkenche communities surrounding Lake Budi in the Araucanía region. It is made from Chupón or Quiscal (Greigia sphacelata), an endemic plant in Chile that grows from the Biobío Region to the Los Lagos Region.

This bag, whose mesh system and materiality prevent the contents from sweating, was traditionally used to carry the collected seafood or transport the potato harvest, but today it can be an ideal companion for your purchases at the fair, on a walk to the beach or on a picnic in the city.

Yepo, llepu or balai are the names given to this traditional Mapuche basket originally used to clean the grains, wash the mote or empty the flour. It can be woven with different materials, such as Ñocha (Eryngium paniculatum), a thorny plant endemic to southern Chile from which a very resistant vegetable fiber is obtained. Or it can also be made with Manila (Phormium Tenax), from the Chiloé archipelago. In our homes, the Yepo works perfectly as a fruit bowl, centerpiece, tray, or whatever you want!

The wanco, wanku or huanco , is the traditional Mapuche floor. They have been used daily for generations in the ruca for all domestic activities such as cooking, knitting or listening to stories from the past. They are so comfortable and provide so much warmth to spaces, that today their use is expanded to our modern rucas. Whether in the living room, bathroom, bedroom or children's room, the wanco adapts to everything.

Chaiwes or chaihues are a typical basket in Mapuche culture used as a kitchen accessory, to sift grains, or to collect fruits. Its structure and weave are woven completely by hand with plant fiber from the guides of Copihue (Lapageria rosea), an endemic vine of Chile that grows in the temperate forests of the center and south. These baskets are utilitarian and decorative, you can put magazines, toys, vegetables or flower pots.

The potato baskets were used for harvesting, carrying and storing potatoes. And they are still used for that, but also for many other things. This basket, typical of the Chilote culture, is woven from Manila fiber (Phormium Tenax) and can be a great ally in modern homes to keep certain objects in order or leave fresh fruits just arrived from the fair.

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