Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Cai Cai and Tren Tren

The Mapuche people relate that the Earth was created from a conflict between two enormous reptiles—Cai Cai, ruler of the seas, and Tren Tren, ruler of the land. Angry because the people scorned the sea’s riches, Cai Cai smacked the water with his tail, flooding the land. Seeing the terrified people fleeing, Tren Tren ordered the hills to rise up against Cai Cai’s floods. Their ongoing struggle ravaged the land with tidal waves and earthquakes, shaping Chile’s landscape into its present form. In the war mace displayed here, the serpent and the lizard represent the ongoing clash of two great forces present throughout our history.

< >

Star-shaped mace.