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Reading: The Restorers of Chiloé by Rosabetty Muñoz


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The Restorers of Chiloé by Rosabetty Muñoz


Cynthia Steele

University of Washington, US
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This series of poems deals with the restoration of religious statues distributed over the Catholic churches scattered over 21 islands of the remote archipelago of Chiloé, off the coast of southern Chile. A group of art restorers worked for years repairing the damages that had occurred over centuries of exposure to the elements, to the beautiful carved wooden images of Jesus, Mary and various Catholic saints. Since there were not enough priests to serve all the scattered population of Chiloé in Colonial times, the traveling priest appointed a fiscal to represent him in each major town, as a religious and legal authority. This position still exists to this day, although with less power than in Colonial times. The man who was serving as fiscal at the time of the restoration collaborated closely with the art specialists, as did various villagers. Even though none of the members of the restoration team was religious, these poems demonstrate the tenderness and respect they demonstrated, both in their dealings with the religious objects and with the devotees of these objects, the islanders. The saints of Chiloé were also beautifully photographed by Chilean photographer Mariana Mathews in 2008, as can be seen at the digital museum Castillo de Niebla:
How to Cite: Steele, C., 2020. The Restorers of Chiloé by Rosabetty Muñoz. Latin American Literary Review, 47(93). DOI:
Published on 05 May 2020.
Peer Reviewed


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