By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza
Carlos Aldunate del Solar
Mapuche. Semillas de Chile
(Bogotá: Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino /
Banco de la República, 2009)
Illustr. - 148 pp.
This is the catalogue of the exhibition, under the same title, organized by the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art that was held at the Banco de la República (NFT Bank of the Republic) Gold Museum in Bogotá (Colombia). The document is crammed with pretty illustrations and pictures as well as old photographs and engravings portraying the Mapuche cultural heritage. The accompanying texts were written by the MChAP's director at the time, Carlos Aldunate del Solar.
"Mapuche. Semillas de Chile" tours the geography of southern Chile and the ancient Mapuche's landscape, guiding the reader through forests of pehuen trees, snow-capped volcanoes and lakes. The book presents archaeological evidence of the ancestors of the Mapuche in the territory, such as jugs metawe, stone maces, figurines... Its pages account for wars and warriors and include pictures of blankets makuñ, houses ruka, families, children, women weaving on large looms outside, and communities playing palin or chueca — a sort of Mapuche hockey. Alongside the Mapuche textile fabrics, the catalogue shows pieces of silverwork and also describes various religious ceremonies through photographs depicting cemeteries with anthropomorphic wood sculptures chemamüll, wood masks kollon, altars rewe and "shamans" or machi beating their drums kultrun.
Even though this is just a catalogue and the scope of the contents is circumscribed by the exhibition boundaries, "Mapuche. Semillas de Chile" is an excellent first approach to the history and the present reality of a people rich in culture and tradition.
Book, in Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art [es].