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 Liquiñe  (Chile) 

Liquiñe, located at the Andean foothills in Los Lagos region of Chile, administratively belongs to the commune of Panguipulli. The craft of the traditional woodwork of Liquiñe is unique in its kind in the world. Mainly, because of the geographical and demographic characteristics that framed its development. After the so-called "Pacification of the Araucanía" (1881), the large indigenous Mapuche population that inhabited the plains of the eastern shore of Lake Calafquén were confined to indigenous reductions, such as Challupén, Traitraico and Pucura, located in an Andean foothills sector to the northwest of what today is Liquiñe and Coñaripe. Liquiñe (Teary eyes in the Mapudungun language), emerges as settlements of Mapuche communities and stands out as a pre-mountainous zone of forests of Patagonian forest.


Thus, the settlements of these Mapuche communities formed the perfect stage first, for the manufacture of these utensils of daily use and ceremonial of the Mapuche culture, and then allowed the first exchange of these artifacts by seeds and food (trafkintu) with other Mapuche communities from the valley and from the other side of the Andes (Argentina).However, the arrival of Chilean settlers and forestry companies in the decades of the 50s to the 70s, produced a massive predation of the woods in the lowlands significantly transforming the economy and society at that time. One point of inflection occurred with the marked forest apogee, which from that moment caused a dependence on the precarious employment of the Mapuche community.

As noted, the Liquiñe handicrafts are made from native wood of the Rauli specie, mainly with an environmental commitment that materializes in the recycling of dead woods that have remained from the felling of the forest peack. Thus, the wood crafts that are manufactured in the locality of Liquiñe are of types: In the first place are utilitarian crafts, corresponding to the full range of dishes, trays, bowls and other ancestral accessories, which are currently purchased for ornamental use; are also used by specialized restaurants as a complement to the traditional dinner service, and also in the local gastronomic samples.

The production of the crafts is done in the workshops of the craftsmen as it requires a special form of drying. The manufacture of each piece is made of moist wood from pieces of dead trees which is then left to dry at natural temperature or with a drying accelerator by means of handmade stoves. (60 days for local trade, 90 days for export). Until now the piece remains unfinished, when the wood has a low percentage of humidity, the final finishes are made to give the final drying. Craftsmen's workshops have gradually improved thanks to the growth of the sector, but the precariousness of construction materials in at least 60% of cases remains. The artisans who are now consolidated in the town of Liquiñe have mostly learned the trade from other artisans or from their families thanks to the transfer of the trade from one generation to another. In this sense, because the Mapuche communities are somewhat hermetic, few non Mapuche people have learned the art (20%), but curiously they are the ones who have most driven the development of this craft from a commercial point of view. Here the Artesanías Vera (Vera Crafts) stand out, which have managed to develop a precarious industrialization of the sector achieving, even, to export some smaller volumes mainly to Germany. 

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