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Wooden statues or chemamüll

Chemamüll ("wooden person", from Mapudungun che "people" and mamüll "wood") are Mapuche statues made of wood used to signal the grave of a deceased person.


Proportion of a chemamull, Mapuche funeral statue, over a person.

The chemamüll are carved wooden statues, usually more than 2 meters tall, that represent the stylized body and head of a stylized human being. Statues may have male or female features. The Mapuche used whole logs of either Nothofagus obliqua, a hard wood, or laurel for their Chemamull.

The Mapuche made Chemamull in pre-Columbian times in a manner similar to headstones. According to testimony in books, Chemamull helped the deceased's soul reunite with its ancestors. This sculpture stood by the deceased during the funeral and was then erected over the grave.

Before the Spanish arrived, Chemamull may have been prevalent, but the Spanish considered the Statues idolatrous and many were burned.[citation needed]

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