Chamanto Fever

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George Dubya sure looks like a bandito in that poncho (the traditional Chilean chamanto), doesn’t he?

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usBy the way, Googling ‘chamanto‘ only returned scores of links to news articles about the APEC leaders wearing the garment, rather than a website actually describing or discussing it in detail.

Even Wikipedia doesn’t have anything on it. It does have a short stub on ‘poncho‘, though.

So anyway, here’s a brief description of the chamanto, and specifically the ones worn in the pic above, taken from the official website of APEC Chile 2004:

The ‘chamanto’ is a decorative, reversible – a light and a dark side – poncho woven in silk thread and wool, its entire contour finished with ribbon edging. The difference between this particular garment and the other ponchos is their reversibility, as both sides are fully finished. Traditionally, the dark side of the poncho is used during the day, while its light side is mostly worn at night.

“Each one is unique. They vary in shape, coloring and pattern. Furthermore, they have a tremendous emotional value, as their handcraft involves great dedication and devotion. The weavers worked incessantly at their rustic looms for over eight hours a day, during four months”, pointed out (APEC 2004 Executive Director) Ambassador (Milenko) Skoknic.

They were made by eight weavers from Donihue, a small town located in the central part of Chile. Their handcraft demands great diligence, because of the exquisiteness involved in the weaving of the silk and wool, plus the intricacy of the design sketched by crossing the threads

The figures embellishing the “chamantos” include ‘copihues’ –Chile’s national flower – barley and wheat ears, blackberries, bunches of grape, fuchsias, pansies and various birds representative of the national fauna.