Gaucho from Argentina wearing the traditional chiripá.

Gaucho, chiripá, Argentina, Jo Bartas, Traditional, South, America, folk, dress,
Jo Bartas. Gaucho with chiripá, Argentina.

Gaucho of Argentina.

The traditional gaucho costume is characterised by the chiripá, a woven blanket or piece of cloth, which is held in place at the waist by a wide, silver ornamented belt. The chiripá hungs down like an apron over wide baggy trousers.

Gaucho is the name given in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay to mainly descendants of Iberian immigrants and indigenous people who earned their living as workers in pastoral livestock farming. One of the most important economic products of the gauchos was cowhide and later dried meat. The Pampas region, Argentine Patagonia and the Gran Chaco in central South America are particularly well known for gaucho culture.

The gauchos had their heyday in the 19th century. Folklore has romanticised them, comparable to the North American cowboys. In Argentina and Uruguay in particular, they are of fundamental importance for national sentiment.

Illustration by Jo Bartas

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