Gold, Silver & Ivory Boleadoras
This bola was sold in an auction house. It had the following description: Antique (late 19th century) set of Boleadoras made of ivory and set on silver and decorated with gold. The set is in excellent condition. With the balls ranging from 2 to 2.5 inches in diameter. Each of the 3 ropes is 48 in long. Estimated value is $1,500.00 to $1,800.00

The Boleadoras

Boleadoras are tools of the argentine trade and they may also be used as weapons. They consist of ropes in which weights made of stone, metal or other materials are hung. They may have one rope/weight in which case they are called "Bola Loca" or "Bola Perdida" (Crazy or Lost Ball). When they have two weight/rope sets then they are "ñanduceras" or "avestruceras". And the lassos of three weights are called "Tres Marias" or "Porteadoras" (Three Marys or Tamers). Bola Locas were used as weapons as slingshots. Avestruceras, as its name in spanish supposes were used to trample ostriches and other medium sized animals. And Tres Marias always have ropes of different lengths and weights of different mass so when thrown they would separate as much as possible. These were used for heavy animals like cattle. The Patagonian, Charruan, Araucan and the indians from las Pampas were the first to develop these tools and the gauchos promptly adopted them. Earliest examples were usually made of stone. The weights were usually covered in fresh leather that when dried would shrink to cover the weight snugly. In Tres Marias the smallest weight is called the "Manija". This is usually also hung on the shortest rope and is used to sling the boleadoras. The most luxurious boleadoras are made of ivory and covered in precious metals. The work on them may be so fine that they are actually considered works of art.


Back to: Flight Toys | Primitive Technology | Boleadora Home Page | Ethnographic Artifact Sales