Pre-Columbian Museum in Santiago

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Museo Chileno de Arte PrecolombinoDSC07635 DSC07606The importance of music can be seen going way back to 600 AC – 400 DCDSC07607

The holes were for inserting feathers.  This mask dates back to 300 AC – 800 DCDSC07616The oldest American ceramics developed about 6000 years ago in the Intermediate and Amazon area in South America. This is now associated with the beginning of an early agricultural life style. Around 3300 BC people from Ecuador began making pots to be used domestically. 1000 years later the Machalilla and Chorrera peoples perfected the craft and developed innovative shapes to be able to get beautiful results in ceramic arts.DSC07619Later, the people in northeaster South America decorated their pots in a similar way as they decorated their bodies. The colorful designs represented their customs of painted their own faces and bodies.

One of the world’s most sophisticated crafts was in gold. The people along the coast as well as in the mountains of the far southern areas developed the “lost wax” technique. The technique involved molding a figure in wax, covering it in clay and then baking it. The wax melts and the metal worker is left with a clay mold that can now be filled with molten gold.DSC07623

On introducing the horse in Chile, the Spaniards had no idea that this would become one of the Mapuche’s best arms, means of wealth and basis of prestige.  Wild horses reproduced quickly in Southern Chile and in the Andean pampas. The number of horses measured the value of the powerful chiefs. When a warrior died, his best warhorse was sacrificed for his funeral banquet and the remains of the animal were buried with the chief. Mapuche horses were decorated with silver ornaments and multicolored cloth.DSC07666DSC07643Funerary techniques were developed 7000 years ago along the coast of Africa and Chile. They preserved the dead by removing the soft body parts and inserting branches, plants and mud. In the Chinchorro culture mummification is 2000 years older than the Egyptian technique. Where as in Egypt, mummification was reserved for people of substance and rulers, in South America, people of any age, sex or social status could be mummified. Some of the mummies were found to have been repaired.DSC07678 DSC07658Humans first stepped onto Chilean land more than 14,000 years ago. About 10,000 years ago, the people who lived on the coast were able to make a variety of stone objects. The function of these geometric objects is not known. About 6000 years ago, the stoneworkers, using incredible skill, were able to obtain extremely thin slices of silica from a single shard. This produced very sharp knives. However, it appears that the knives were never used. Why?DSC07677DSC07674

 

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