Clothing is one of the most is one of the most distinctive features of the Mapuche identity and culture. Even though at present times those clothes are not wore on a daily basis (except for some rural communities), the Mapuche people attach great value to their most traditional garments.
The domo wesakelu or female attire includes the küpam, a large square mantle of cloth entirely black with a bluish iridescence that covers from the shoulders to the ankles. It is fastened by a brooch (tupu) on the right shoulder and fitted to the waist by a wide belt known as trarüwe/trariwe, which adds a colourful touch to the design and provides important information on its owner (the place she comes from, her age, her marital status). Women cover themselves with an ikülla/ükülla, a black cloak with a colour strip (green, red, blue), and wear jewellery to make themselves appear beautiful. Among the latter we find wonderful accessories such as the trarilongko (head ornament), the trapelakucha (breast plate), the yüwülkuwü (ring/bracelet) and the chaway (earrings).
In the old times, male traditional costumes (wentru wesakelu) used to include the chiripa, a rectangular piece of cloth, usually of light colour with brown or black lines, wrapped around the waist and the thighs knotted at the waist. At present, Mapuche men wear as any other Chilean peasant does. Among the items inherited from the ancient times we find the trarüchiripa/trarichiripa (a red wide belt, much less elaborated than its female counterpart), the blanket makuñ (similar to the Andean poncho), the chumpiru/chimpiru (felt hat), the sandals ekota and the wooden clogs sumel.
The term chamall refers to the cloth from which the male’s chiripa and the female’s küpam are made and, by extension, these garments may sometimes be called as the fabric from which they are made.
The Mapuche textile tradition, in Memoria Chilena [es].
Mapuche clothing, in La Guía 2000 [es].
Mapuche clothing, in Profesornelinea.cl [es].
Trajes de la Chilenidad (“Clothes typical of Chile”), in El Mercurio online [es].
Mapuche jewellery, in Atina Chile [es].
Mapuche traditional clothing, in Cultura Mapuche [es].
Picture 01. Mapuche blanket.
Picture 02. Mapuche belts.
Picture 03. Mapuche tupus (brooches).
Picture 04. Mapuche breastplates, necklace and earrings.
Picture 05. Mapuche earrings.
Picture 06. Mapuche clothings (archive photo).