Mapuche Belt. Trarihue. Temuco, Chile. XIX century.

Exceptional piece woven on a warp-faced toothpick loom, with the ñimin (tillage) technique of forced comb. Naturally colored sheep's wool -hand-spun- was selected for its preparation for white and brown, while for orange, the weaver may have dyed with muermo (elm) or yellow dock flowers and roots. The intense red of the wool that draws the center, owes its color to the dyeing with relbún roots or with the fruit of Maqui, plant species native to southern Chile. (1) Measurements. Length: 246 cm / 96.85 in. Width: 7.5 cm / 2.95 in. Fringes: 6 cm / 23.6 in.

The trarihue is the belt that is part of the attire of the adult woman of the Mapuche ethnic group. Its structure is divided into edges and center, and it is in the center precisely where it carries all its symbolism. We can see in this garment the representation of Lukutuel, the kneeling in prayer position during the nguillatun ceremony.

“In the center, the figure is always red or black on a white background (…) it is Lukutuel –the kneeling one- built by unfolding. Lukutuel represents a man or a woman, kneeling in supplication in the great ceremonial ngillatun rite”. (2)

Added to the characteristics of the edges and the quality of the wool used (from an extinct sheep breed), the appearance of Andean crosses interrupting the Lukutuel sequence contributes to its dating. This representation refers to the crosses or chakanas, of the Tiwanaku culture and those of the Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo in Peru, and its incorporation into the Mapuche culture has precisely its origin in the transculturation operated in the Andean corridor during the many years of wars between Incas and Mapuches.


1. Nieves Acevedo: The art of weaving. Part III. Fabrics, colors and vegetables. News Magazine. Digital ed of the National Museum of Natural History of Chile. 2017.

2. Pedro Mege Rosso: Mapuche textile art. Ed. Ministry of Educati


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