This project records and investigates the artisanal knowledge system of contemporary silversmithing in Ecuador. It is an “hybrid” system produced by the colonial encounter whose ancient pre-Hispanic roots are still traceable within contemporary practice.



The project will document way(s) of constructing, finishing, and decorating metal objects, by recording the materials, tools, techniques beliefs and rituals involved in the contemporary making, decorating, and colouring of silver objects. The project will also capture current silversmithing training provision in Quito; communicate (through film, video, objects and writing) a deeper, richer understanding of the silversmiths’ “artisanal onto-epistemology”; and investigate evidence of continuity with pre-Hispanic metalwork practices and worldviews.


Dr. Emilia Ferraro

Prof. Sandra Wilson
Gabriela Andrade Pallares
Juan F. Serrano

Location of Research:
Quito, Ecuador

Host Institution:
University of Dundee


Banner Photo: Hammers in maestro Luis Fernando Buitrón Benítez’s workshop, in La Tola neighbourhood (barrio), Quito. Picture taken by Prof. Sandra Wilson.