May 21, 2022 #ChileDiverse #ChileGlobal

Mapuche weavers break record for longest weaving in the world

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  • 426 Mapuche women from 90 communes of the country gathered in Puerto Saavedra, La Araucanía region, to weave a loom almost 1 km long.
  • This is the first world record of the Mapuche people that seeks to make visible and value the art of looms.

The waterfront of Puerto Saavedra in the Araucanía region was the scene of a new record for Chile: 426 Mapuche weavers convened by the Chilka Foundation made a loom nearly 900 meters long, a milestone that has made it the longest weaving loom in the world.

The feat, which required more than a year of preparation and dissemination throughout Chile, far surpassed the record previously held by China, with a fabric of 276.41 m2.

"We want this work to travel around the world. We want it to travel, to establish itself in territories and to speak for our weavers," said Ariel Traipi, president of the Chilka Foundation, an institution that seeks to promote Mapuche development in southern Chile. "We want to make visible not only the weaving, but also the weaver in her context. We want to highlight the cultural landscapes, practices and rituals. All of this is a journey, an immersion into Mapuche culture. We are thrilled by this triumph, which crowns us as the first indigenous people in the southern hemisphere to set a world record," she added.

Patricia Huinca is from Nueva Imperial, has been weaving for more than 25 years and is one of the coordinators of the 426 weavers who are participating in this milestone. "For me it is an emotion, a great joy. Today is for us the most wonderful day we have had as weavers because we have always been weaving inside our house, locked up. Nobody knew about our activity, about our weaving. But today we can say that we are going to make it known to the world. We have always been united, and this loom speaks of that, of union and peace," said Patricia, who also teaches classes to pass on ancestral knowledge to new generations.

Source value

Fundación Chilka is one of the institutions that has recently become part of the Chile Brand Use Program, an initiative of Fundación Imagen de Chile that provides different benefits to local producers, ranging from institutional support to the positioning and valuation of the origin.

"From Imagen de Chile we are very proud of this record that shows how, from our roots, Chile is creating the future. Our native peoples are positioning themselves internationally from culture, with this ancestral tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation. In addition, the Chilka Foundation carries the Chile brand, which is key to give value to the origin of our country," said Constanza Cea, executive director of Imagen de Chile.

Record

More than 420 Mapuche weavers participated in the making of this loom, coming from different parts of the country, from the Coquimbo region to the Los Lagos region, and also some who crossed the border from Argentina. Although 90% of the participants already had knowledge of traditional Mapuche "witxal" weaving, the Mapuche Ngüren School of Art and Crafts was created as part of the milestone, a space in which the weavers were trained on the model and design of the loom made, which is the work of the president of the Chilka Foundation, Ariel Traipi.

The material used to manufacture the loom consisted of a ton of Dohne Merino sheep wool from Tierra del Fuego, which was washed and dyed by the artisan cooperative of the Puren community. The tones that can be seen in the design of the loom are inspired by the basic colors of the Mapuche culture, representing values ranging from Che Troki Wün (respect for the person) to Manelüwün (pledge of trust).

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