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​Project financed by the National Fund for Cultural Development and the Arts, National Scope, Call 2023

Goldsmithing Collection: Chilean Myths and Legends

 In Chile, there is a great artisanal tradition in goldsmithing focused particularly on native cultures with ornamental pieces in traditional formats that tend to be repeated in terms of representations, forms, materials or techniques. Taking this into account, I proposed working on the topic of territorial identity based on images found in the local collective imagination, on our beliefs, myths and legends throughout the national territory and providing a renewed air, reimagining them.

In particular, I proposed the creation of twenty pieces of Goldsmithing orjewelry in various formats such as; earrings, pendants, necklaces, rings, brooches, etc. using different jewelry techniques from artisanal wax carving through 3D modeling and printing, lost wax casting and stone setting bordering the usual standard in high jewelry. For me, these jewels represent a myth or legend from each area of our country and the possibility of providing a renewed reading of them. With these pieces I hope to spread the culture of our diverse peoples in territories from South to North.

To see this collection in the store you can click on the image:

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Trentren vilú and Caicai vilú

Both are powerful beings shaped like mythical snakes (vilu, in Mapudungun); Caicai-Vilu is the "sea serpent" with the power to dominate the sea and everything related to it while Tren-tren vilu is the "land serpent" who has the power to dominate the earth, and especially its volcanoes.

trentren caicai 1 web1.png

Chiloe's Mermaid

The Chilote mermaid is characterized by having a body that is half fish and half woman, her human part would have the appearance of a very beautiful young woman, with long hair golden like gold like her fish scales, she is the youngest daughter of Millalob and  ; Huenchula; It has an incomparable charm and sweetness.

The Chilote mermaid is an aquatic being belonging to the mythology of Chiloé. It is likely that its origin is due to the union of the myth of the Sirens of European mythology, and the Sumpall of Mapuche mythology.

Sirena 1 web1.png

Athrathrao Chilote

The Athrathrao is a creature that is a mix between a bird and a reptile ; It has the head of a rooster with a red crest, and the body of a snake. Its body is the same as that of the rooster but with small wings and legs, which is why it can only move by crawling on the ground.

According to legend, it is born in a chicken coop , from a small, completely round egg with a thick shell, grayish white, called a lloy lloy egg, which is believed to be laid and incubated by a rooster. If this egg is not removed, within a few weeks it would become an Athrathrao or Chilote Basilisk.

Athrathrao web1.png

Chonchon / Tue-tue

Originally in the Mapuche culture, the legend referred to as Chonchón to the transformation that the Calcu/witch would perform; which practices evil with the help of the wekufe spirit to go to witch meetings and even haunt the homes of its victims.

The Chonchón is a strange bird with gray feathers, it is characterized by having a human head and sharp claws; This creature would emit a fateful cry that would sound like "tué, tué", it always appears because the person who hears it is close to death.

As this belief was assimilated to the tradition of the colony of Chile, the transformation to Chonchón and its characteristic sound would be associated with the power of witches and warlocks who serve the devil and also seen as a sign of bad omen.

Chonchon web1.png

Colocolo

For the Mapuches, the Colo Colo or Colocolo has the shape of a snake with legs similar to an elongated rat with feathers instead of fur, while further south the Huilliches represent it as a mouse or elongated rat with a head similar to that of a rooster. .

It is very possible that as a result of the syncretism that occurred during the colony, the similarity between some characteristics of the Colo Colo myth and the myth of the Basiliscus of Greek mythology gave way to the later myth of the Athrathrao or Basiliscus of Chilote mythology; which is why these beings are also generally confused.

According to its legend, it is said that the ColoColo is born from a snake egg strangely incubated by an old rooster; and that it seeks refuge in the corners or cracks of old houses since it would feed on people by sucking their saliva while they sleep, making them sick to death.

Colocolo 1 web1.png

Piuchen

The Piuchén (from Mapudungun piwicheñ: “To dry the people”) is a creature belonging to Mapuche mythology, and later also reintroduced into Chilota mythology. This legendary creature is known in much of Chile and even southern Argentina.

This has the ability to have a change and could present itself as a snake, bird, fish, quadruped, frog, bat and even humanoid; or also a mixture of them but generally it has the appearance of a flying snake. It is said that in addition, its body would be covered with grass, bushes and twisted cylinders, like hamate horns and other structures that protrude from the body of this creature.


This word also refers to the common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus), so it is most likely that this legend was inspired by this animal.

Piuchen aros 1 web1.png

The Pincoya

The Pincoya is a marine creature belonging to the mythology of Chiloé.

It is said that she has the appearance of a young and very beautiful woman, with long blonde hair. She is the sister of the Chilota Mermaid and unlike Pincoya, she has a completely human appearance.

The myth says that the daughter of Millalobo and Huenchula appears from the depths of the sea, semi-dressed in a sargassum suit to dance on the beaches and that depending on where her dance is oriented, she will signal whether the fishing will be abundant or scarce in the season. what is coming right now.

 

Pincoya colgante 1 web1.png

Variants

The development of this project was arduous and was not immune to changes during the design process, that is why while I was researching different myths of our native peoples I was planning variants or alternative models to represent under the codes of Goldsmithing; but somehow (somewhat unconsciously) I got closer to the more classic sculpture, only approached from a small format typical of this craft.

The basis of my proposal was to develop twenty pieces of Goldsmithing and alternate between silver and bronze along with the execution of setting semi-precious stones, all this in order to reimagine the local mythology and deliver a renewed and personal vision.

Below I leave the rest of the pieces from my goldsmith's collection "Chilean Myths and Legends"

 

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Piuchen

A small test to understand the route to follow with the body of the Piuchen and the development of this design, it became a pivotal exercise for this entire work. So much so that there are bronze and silver versions of these earrings.

web anillo colocolo.jpg

Colocolo

The colocolo ring was an interesting model to make since at that time I was studying organic curvatures, similar to the type of representations of tails or tentacles in heraldic illustrations of bestiaries from the 15th century.

web colgante pincoya 1.jpg

The Pincoya

 
This model was the first that I approached small format sculpture while working on this collection, in some way I began to understand that the representation of mythical figures pushed me to experiment with different metals and colors of stones as well as different sizes.

 

web medallon sirena.jpg

Chiloe's Mermaid

Working between the classic of a French setting with brilliant cut zircons and geometric textures, I found myself lost in the details of the scales that the first Chilote mermaid model that I made had, trying to articulate a little movement I found this effigy of a resting mermaid on its tail to close with a large bronze medallion, representing the Chilota mermaid and culminating another variant.

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Piuchen

Without a doubt, the process of modeling and adding scale details was one of the most complex. In my first attempt I spent 27 hours trying to understand how to do it so that it had a harmonious and organic path, just as you can see in a snake.

That's why when I got the Piuchén hoop version I went a little further and made a hanging piece.

web trentren caicai aros 1.jpg

Trentren vilú and Caicai vilú

Mythical snakes (vilu, in Mapudungun); Caicai-Vilu is the "sea serpent" with the power to dominate the sea and everything related to it while Tren-tren vilu is the "land serpent" who has the power to dominate the earth, and especially its volcanoes.

This variant includes a version of asymmetrical hoops in silver or bronze with one of the snakes on opposite sides.

web anillo pincoya.jpg

The Pincoya

This ring model with Pincoya caryatids on the sides and a moonstone in the center (evoking the relationship between the tide and the Moon) emerges as a second look at the first version of the Pincoya pendant, trying to dialogue a little between the sculptural that first figure but getting a little closer to the ornamental object like a piece of goldsmithing.

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