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Santa Cruz: the quillanguería as Argentine Intangible Cultural Heritage

Today we want to tell you this tradition of the Argentine Intangible Cultural Heritage that has been relieved in the
La quillanguería patagónica
03 December, 2019

The Ministry of Culture of the Nation has been carrying out, for some time, the survey of the Argentine Intangible Cultural Heritage. It is a tool to collect and share information about the cultural manifestations that form part of the identity of communities in Argentina. Traditional ways of doing, naming, producing or celebrating that continue to be practiced, that are passed on to the new generations and that contribute to strengthening collective ties. Today we want to tell you the ones that have been relieved so far in the province of Santa Cruz: the quillanguería.

The Patagonian Quillanguería

It is a craft technique for manufacturing of the kai tehuelche or guanaco leather cape. The material is worked in different stages; among the main ones are scraping, tanning, soaking and washing, maceration, staking, sewing of groats and decoration. It current practice aims to revitalize artisanal value and promote recognition of the cultural identity of the indigenous communities.

The quillanguería is an ancient technique that consists in the use of animal leather for the manufacture of clothing, among other purposes. The Tehuelches used it with their hair inward and the leather side was painted with designs typical of their culture.

To preserve techniques like this, in Patagonia, scientists from the CONICET works to ensure that the culture of the indigenous peoples remains more alive than ever, to through pampa loom workshops, stone carving, quillanguería and ceramics intended for the whole community.

In order to build on their legacy, scientists from the National Patagonian Center (CENPAT-CONICET), based in Puerto Madryn, Chubut, are developing a project for the rescue and reintegration of aboriginal technologies that are no longer practiced or are at risk of extinction, in addition to their archaeology work at the Institute.

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