A saying relating to gauchos is to ‘tira el caballo por la ventana’ – ‘throw the horse out of the window’. It means to spare no expense, something gauchos do with regularity when it comes to all the silver with which they decorate themselves and their horses. Apparently I got the saying wrong; it is actually ‘to throw the house out of the window’ – one small letter, but maybe not that much difference when it comes to gauchos, who generally spend more time with their horses than in their houses.
Our only experience with gauchos, the cowboys of South America, came at Estancia la Cinacina en el campo outside of Buenos Aires.
Here are two young gauchos at the estancia wearing modern gaucho gear, berets, pañuelos (stylishly-tied bandanas), and the all important belt made from leather with lots of silver work attached.A knife in a worked silver sheath tucked into a belt of a dancing gaucho. A gaucho from Peru in a traditional costume from 1868. From the top down: sombrero surero (hat); pañuelo (bandana); poncho over a shirt; the all-important belt with mucha plata; bombachas, pants made from a type of poncho; botas fuertes de cuiro (strong boots of leather) and espuelas de plata (silver spurs).
Carlos Gardel, the great tango singer, dressed as a gaucho in this photo by Silva dated 1923.
Jose Razzano, an early collaborator with Gardel, also got dressed up as a gaucho.
Two more gauchos from our day in the campo (countryside) at the Estancia La Cinacina in San Antonio de Areco.Gaucho contest at La Cinacina called Carrera de sortija involving the spearing of a ring (argolla) on a pencil-sized wooden lance by a rider on a galloping horse. This was from Wikipedia but it shows the gaucho on the right above participating in a sport that we would have seen if it hadn’t happened to be pouring with rain!
A tiled mural at Cinacina shows this riding sport in detail.
An old engraving of a Chilean gaucho throwing a bolas, a type of weapon designed to entangle an animal’s feet.
Gaucho gear at a market in Buenos Aires includes bolas, silver stirrups and other silver bits and pieces.
Check out this vendor’s belt! The pants are balloon style, the wide pants tucked into the boot, something that appeared later in gaucho history.
Gauchos drinking mate and playing the guitar in the Argentine Pampas with a parrillada beside them, circa 1890.
At La Cinacina, the cook gets ready to prepare a parrillada, the iconic mixed grill that started on the estancias and is now popular all over the country. Preparing the grill for the parrillada. Dogs waiting patiently for scraps from the large parrillada. We didn’t see any more gauchos but there were a lot more parrilladas on that trip. What goes on the grill? Carne, carne and more carne.The Adventures of China Iron by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara. A ‘china’, is what many young woman were called, especially those who hang out with gauchos, as well as with servants and such. The masters never bothered with names, just called them all ‘China’. It has a lot of run-on sentences with masses of commas which makes it a tad difficult to read, but still worth it.
A leather-bound version of the classic Gaucho epic poem ‘Martin Fierro’ that inspired the ‘China Iron’ novel above.
Thanks for sharing this idea.. Jose Razzano was so amazing. Anita
The old tango music is so wonderful to listen to, and Razzano is a big part of that.
Guachos back in the day look like bada**es!
It looks to me like a hard life, but rewarding and full of tradition if you like horses, mate and music…