Mapuche silverware: souvenir guide

The metallurgy in silver was not well-known by the mapuche people. The technologies of worked and smelting were learned of the Spanish masterful goldsmiths taken prisoners or in the mining tasks of silver and gold, where they worked for the conquerors. During these contacts mapuches knew the Spanish currency, which became the main source of supply of the raw material. This office had a great development in the middle of century XVIII and it became in a Classical and unique Art of the mapuche people that incorporated original forms and techniques. In silver they made tack of horse, mates, vessel, but mainly, feminine elements of ornate, of which we described some examples here.

Mapuche silver art

Mapuche silver art

Striker pin

Very long pin, of spherical head and very varied dimensions, but very seemed to each other. There is another variety of pins called Tupu that has in its head a circular lamina of up to twenty centimeters of diameter, scenery with engraved figures. Both were used to fasten the chamal (blanket) and some of it has a chain that unites to a pectoral pendant like the siquil or the pin of akucha.

Nitrowe or Pollqui

This extraordinary jewel consists of a long wool strip that can reach 13,12 feet generally red, green or black. It is covered with small hemispheres of engraved silver (Llef Llef) and, in some cases, ends in a rosette that finishes in tubes of silver and conical little bells. It is used to surround braids, to coil the hair up getting it together in the head.

Akucha pin on silver

Akucha pin on silver

Akucha Pin

Is the most characteristic jewel of Mapuche’s silverware. Was created by the end of the XIX Century, just before of this occupation began to decay. Its use is still valid. It is a pectoral of 13,78 * 4,72 inches that hangs of the pin or tupu. It is formed by a superior plate, where appear drawn two faced birds. This lamina is united by three flat chains with another inferior one that has an ovule shape or trapezoidal form and that decorated by symmetrical figures. The adornment also has hanging (Pün Pün), generally two above and from four to ten in the inferior plate.


Chawai is Name given to the pending earrings of the lobe of the ear, with disc form and with multiple variations. One of them is Chawai Chapell, presumably the oldest one, of trapezoidal aspect or in bell, general of great weight and size. Another one of them is Chawaitü, disc form, with pendants in its inferior part.


Trari: to take tied, lonco: head. Adornment to fit the head. It is used in the forehead, moored in the nape of the neck. It is a very old adornment that evolved from the tapes woven, to which polished coins were hung to it later, to getting to replace the tape by a chain of flat links and the coins by pendants of different forms.

At the moment mapuche silverware is being recovered like occupation through the courses dictated in the Catholic University of Temuco, where beautiful reproductions can be bought.