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Chile - Santiago am

Museums and history

10th Feb Santiago in the morning

We had a reasonable breakfast in the hotel courtyard before setting off down Av Manuel Montt (and more on him later too) to catch the metro to Plaza de Armas. Great metro system:- cheap and easy to use. We changed from Line 1 to Line 5 (there are lines, 1,2,4 and 4a branch, 5,6- no number 3) and popped up at the Plaza. I wanted to see the guard changing ceremony at La Moneda so we went along the pedestrian streets of Bandera to the Plaza de Constitution. Unfortunately they had changed the days it was on (we watched it another day), so we walked back to the Museum of Pre Columbian Art.
Centro Cultural Palacio de La Moneda cultural facility under Citizen Square, southern façade of Palacio de La Moneda, built 2004-6 by Chilean architect Cristián Undurraga with 2 main exhibition halls and minor halls: Centro de Documentación de las Artes (Arts Documentation Centre), Cineteca Nacional (National Film Archive), Digital Laboratory, restaurants, café, small shop and an art and technology room.

La Moneda Palace/ Palacio de La Moneda is the seat of the President of the Republic of Chile and General Secretariat. It occupies an entire block in downtown Santiago, in the Civic District between Moneda (North), Morandé (East), Alameda del Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins (South) and Teatinos street (West). La Moneda, originally a colonial mint (Moneda = coin) 1814-1929, was designed by Italian architect Joaquín Toesca. Construction began 1784 and it was opened in 1805. In June 1845 under president Manuel Bulnes, the palace became the seat of government and presidential residence. In 1930, a public square, Plaza de la Constitución (pic) was built in front of the palace. After the presidency of Gabriel González Videla it ceased to be a presidential residence. In the military coup d'état of 1973, the Chilean Air Force bombarded the palace. Reconstruction was completed 1981, although some bullet marks have been preserved. During the restorations, an underground office complex (bunker) was built under the front square to provide a safe escape for dictator General Augusto Pinochet. President Ricardo Lagos opened the inner courtyards to the public during certain hours of the day. Lagos also re-opened Morandé 80 gate (used by Chilean presidents to enter the palace, eliminated during the restoration as not being in the original plans, but restored for its symbolism as the gate through which Chilean Presidents entered La Moneda as ordinary citizens). It was also the gate through which the body of President Allende was taken out after the 1973 coup. Free guided tours of the palace are available at the La Moneda website and are given in several languages. The Palacio de la Moneda is neoclassical with Roman Doric influences. The building is listed by UNESCO.

Its main façade faces Moneda Street, and its rooms are distributed along the transverse and longitudinal axes forming several patios; Patio de los Cañones (entrance hall); a covered patio; Patio de los Naranjos (presidential ceremonies). To celebrate the bicentenary of Chile’s independence 2010, a public square, Plaza de la Ciudadanía (Citizens Square) was constructed on the south side of the palace down to the Avenida Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins or “Alameda”. Designed by Undurraga Devés Arquitectos, the Plaza has been called “one of the most important public works in the last century”. Paths leading down from the plaza give access to the underground Palacio de La Moneda Cultural Centre.
Some buildings on the way; Palacio de la Alhambra http://www.snba.cl/paginas/palacio.htm; Palacio de los Tribunales de Justicia de Santiago/ Courts of Justice of Santiago (right) is the building housing the Supreme Court of Chile, the Court of Appeals of Santiago, and the Court-martial Court of the Chilean Army, Chilean Air Force and Carabineros de Chile. It occupies a full block-front of Compañía Street between Bandera and Morandé Streets. The building diagonally faces the Palacio de la Real Aduana, which houses the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, and Montt Varas Square sits in front. The building, which is opposite the Ex Congreso Nacional, was built in two phases between 1905 and 1930 in the neoclassical style. The earlier, western portion of the building was completed in 1911. The main entrance to the building is framed by a two-tiered portico that is supported by one storey-high Doric columns on the lower level and two-story-high Ionic columns on the upper level. The portico is crowned by a triangular pediment containing the figure of a condor standing on an open book with the word LEX (Latin for law) sculpted over it. The building has a three-story arcade, which is parallel to the main facade and features a glass skylight. Ornamental details include caryatids holding bronze swords made by the sculptor Coll y Pi and a stained glass window made in Munich, Germany by Franz Mayer.

Museo Chileno De Arte Precolombino http://www.precolombino.cl/en/]
The Museum of Pre-Columbian Art exhibits the rich cultural history of Central and South America. Through rooms of art, sculptures, textiles, jewellery, and other artefacts, we got a great feel for Chile’s rich cultural past, and that of the Americas as a whole. The rooms are spacious, well lit, and the displays well constructed. At Bandera 361 it was centrally located in the heart of Santiago’s historical district, a block from the Plaza de Armas. Created by Sergio Larraín García-Moreno, a Chilean avant-garde designer, who after studying in Europe began collecting the art of the Americas and wanted to display it to the public, the museum officially opened in December 1981. The Museum is housed in the stunning Palacio de la Real Aduana. Beginning with the Paleo-Indians who first entered and inhabited the continent, migrating through the Americas, south to the lush landscapes of Central and South America, the museum traces the Americas through its various cultures. Prior to European colonisation, these Pre-Columbian cultures and civilisations flourished and established urban settlements and complex societal hierarchies, including notable civilisations such as Aztec, Maya, Inca, Toltec and Olmec. On a side note, knowing Machu Picchu, we noted the figurines of Coqueras (Coca chewers). Although some civilisations had long since ceased by time Europeans arrived, archaeology has uncovered their history. With the Europeans, starting with Christopher Columbus, came the decline of native populations, mostly from disease, but also murder and exploitation. The museum displays artefacts by Cultural Area; Mesoamerica, Caribbean, Amazonian, Central Andes, Southern Andes. We started at the top floor (Mesoamerica) and worked our way down to the textiles room, then the bottom floor, which is ancient Chilean artefacts, organised by Northern and Southern Cultures.
Highlights included the Chinchorro mummies of Northern Chile, and elaborate quipus.
We enjoyed the darkened textile room through revolving doors. This impressive room had interactive drawers to open and view the contents. The room has a timing system for lighting, to preserve the textiles. $4.500 CLP The museum was excellent, well laid out and with informative labels in Spanish and English. I found the artefacts relating to Chilean cultures particularly interesting, especially the “power” or chieftain symbols. As it was arranged, we began with the Mexican peninsula.
Olmec culture 1200 – 200 BC (Middle Formative 900 - 400 BC La Venta phase)
Nayarit Culture 500BC-500AD.
Chupícuaro far north 500 BC-200 AD
Guerrero ‘Culture’ c400BC-1AD
Colima culture 200 BC-500 AD
Veracruz 100-500 AD
Maya- Maya Jaina 300-600 AD, Maya Ulua 600-900 AD; Maya Classic 1100-1600
Zapotec 500BC-150AD, then Mixtec 900-1500 AD “Cloud people”
El Arbolillo and Zacatenco led to Tlatilco 1500-500 BC, then Teotihuacán culture 1-700 AD (Early Classic c200 AD; Classic 300-500 AD; Late Classic 650-750 AD), Toltec 800-1100 AD (Classic Period 900 AD) and Aztec 1200-1520 AD (all around Lake Texacoco)

Mexican peninsula
Olmec. ‘Baby’ figurine (left) 1200 - 900 BC. Human figure in obsidian (centre) and stone baby (right) Middle Formative 900 - 400 BC La Venta phase.
1. The Olmec culture (1200 BC – 200 AD) developed in the Mexican states of Veracruz and Tabasco, a humid area with rivers, lagoons and marshes in a leafy tropical forest, and animals such as jaguars, tapirs, wild boars and monkeys. At its height, the influence of this culture extended through Mesoamerica. Agriculture was of maize, beans and pumpkins, using slash and burn. Olmec statues, particularly the monumental heads of stone and the ceramic figures known as "baby face" demonstrate great mastery, in addition to establishing key points of the art style that characterises this culture; sinuous and straight lines, faces with ripped and almond eyes with flat noses and open nostrils. In some cases the mouths have deformations similar to the "cleft lip" or feline characteristics, such as a jaguar snout. The finishing techniques were polishing, and incision, often with red or white pigments. They achieved remarkable mastery in mural painting, probably used ritually, of people with the face profile and body front, holding objects and surrounded by symbols. Not much is known about the Olmec social organisation. It is likely it was a theocracy in which priests held political and religious power over a large mass segregated between nobles, skilled artisans and peasants. The Olmec worshipped ancestors, natural elements, like the sun and rain and various animals (especially the snake and jaguar). The cult of the jaguar is shown in human figures with feline features. Human sacrifice was common, based on a cyclical vision of the processes of life in which it was necessary to destroy something to create something. Olmec society developed as the first urban society of Mesoamerica. Initially, settlements were small towns of peasants, without social complexity, but numerous. Around 1200 BC the urban centres San Lorenzo, La Venta and Tres Zapotes developed, characterised by villas and satellite centres with monumental architecture and art that represents a complex social hierarchy. Possibly each town functioned as a city-state, relatively independent, but with features in common. Olmec origins were probably the highlands of Oaxaca, south of Veracruz or north Tabasco. Olmec influence can be seen in almost all Mesoamerica, especially in societies that lived in the same period, which implies a fluid exchange of both resources and aesthetic concepts. Olmec was undoubtedly the most influential culture in all of Mesoamerica's cultural development, since it laid down both aesthetic and ideological foundations used and reused by later societies, up to Spanish times.
Nayarit “The Guard” 500BC-500AD. A ceramic tomb statue from Mexico’s western coast; these statues served as guardians for the dead, with weapon in hand and trance on face.
2. Nayarit Culture 500BC-500AD. The Nayarit developed on the western coast of Mexico in tropical rainforests with abundant rivers, streams and lakes. Nayarit ceramics were made with a variety of production and finishing techniques. Negative and positive paintings were used for decoration. Human images are quite life-like, but body shapes are often elongated or stylised. The figurines point to some aesthetic aspects of Nayarit culture, such as cranial deformation, nose ornaments, pendants, necklaces, and ornate clothing. Notable figures include females holding ceramic vessels, sitting down, crouching, or reclining. Animals are rare, but those that have been found are often of dogs. Little is known of their social organisation, but they are thought to have lived in local chiefdoms with shamans holding positions of respect. Nayarit elite were buried in complex tombs of a chamber at the bottom of a deep pit. Family members were buried in the same chamber, accompanied by grave goods of ceramic vessels and sculptures. Of particular note are the Nayarit’s statues of warriors and dogs left to protect and guide the deceased to the afterlife. Archaeological evidence in the Ixtlán area suggests that the Nayarit lived in small villages of several families. Clay models of dwellings attributed to this culture show densely populated settlements containing structures ranging from simples designs with two walls and a ceiling to two-storey houses with multiple rooms. The Nayarit had close ties with the neighbouring Jalisco and Colima people, as shown by the many similarities among their ceramic traditions and burial rites. The present-day Huichol people are their descendants. Related to later Aztecs.
Guerrero, Mixtec and Aztec masks; lower left is Mixtec (c.300 AD), top right from related Aztecs, in Early Classic Teotihuacan style c200-500 AD, bottom right from Teotihuacan Classic 300-1000 AD. At the top left is a mask of the related Guerrero culture c400-0 BC (from the signature site of Guerrero).
3. The territory of the Guerrero ‘Culture’ (c400BC-1AD) was the southwest coast of modern-day Mexico, flanked by the Western Sierra Madre. The region consists of isolated valleys, making communications difficult. It is an area of frequent seismic activity and landslides. The Guerrero people were not a specific culture, but a number of groups that shared characteristics. It is believed the peoples of the Guerrero region lived in small settlements of farmers, inhabiting each valley independently. The Guerrero produced a large quantity of ceramics. Vessels with stirrup handles were common, suggesting links with cultures in Central and South America. They produced ceramic figurines with Teotihuacan influences. They worked with gold, silver, and copper, but are best known for their sculptures, masks and architectural models made of the local hard rock of various colours. The most characteristic figures are those of the Mezcala style, consisting of small, highly stylised and delicately crafted human figurines. Other common stone subjects included animals such as dogs, turtles, frogs, coyotes, birds, felines and insects; tools, such as axes, awls, and knives; and body ornaments, such as nosepieces, rings, bracelets, and chest pieces. Standing or prostrate humans are common, and some representations of human body parts, such as arms, hands, legs, heads, and fingers with fingernails. Although groups of the Guerrero culture developed independently, they shared many cultural elements. They displayed influences from the Olmec, Teotihuacán, and Mayan cultures.
Colima Culture. Female (mujer) statue from Colima, Mexico Formative Period 200 BC-300AD and Dancing circle 300 BC-300 AD (Formative-Classic period) from Colima, Mexico
4. Colima Culture. Little is known about the early history of the Colima area except the Otomi, Nahuatl, Tolteca, Chichimeca and Tarasca cultures flourished there 2000 BC- 1000 AD. When the Spanish arrived in 1525, most of West Mexico was controlled by the Kingdom of Tzintuntzan. The Purépecha (Tarascans to the conquistadors), occupied the area 1100-1530 AD along with Colima Indians, who are closely related. King Colimán, leader of the Colimas, waged a successful war against the Purépechas just before the Spanish arrival. The Colima culture 500BC- 500AD occupied a rugged, low-lying coastal region carved by valleys, each with its own ecology and a humid climate. Little is known about their subsistence, as most information comes from the excavation of cemeteries, not residential sites. They practiced irrigation farming, which allowed them to live in large groups in relatively independent villages and urban centres. Colima ceramics display a wide variety of figures and shapes, but little variation in technique. Most pieces have a burnished red finish and some are decorated with orange or white incisions. Moulded figures are common, especially of plants, animals (mainly dogs) and seashells. Humans typically feature dwarfs and hunchbacks, and a few female forms. Many figures have “coffee-bean” eyes and are dressed in finely detailed traditional attire. Little is known of Colima stonework; only a few mace heads, small masks and figurines have been found. They practiced weaving, and used metallurgy to make needles, axes, rattles, nose rings and ear ornaments. Little is known about the Colima’s social order, but shamans or priests may have occupied positions of importance. Figurines resembling warriors and prisoners with hands tied point to ceremonial war. The majority of ceramic pieces are grave goods found in tombs of high rank. The Colima buried their dead in family tombs up to 30 m deep, some with multiple chambers, accompanied by a wide variety of grave goods, including ceramic statuettes of armed men, which served as symbolic guardians. Ceramic sculptures of dogs were common grave goods, and are believed to be the emissaries of Xolotl, the god of death. Some larger villages had ceremonial centres that also served as trading hubs/ markets. Their dwellings were made of perishable materials such as palm leaves, wood, and mud but their temples had foundations of earth and stone. The history of the Colima people is not well known, but, like many Mesoamerican cultures, the Colima displayed some stylistic elements that link them with the ancient Olmecs.
Maya. Pedestal Censer of a Mayan noble AD600-900, used to ritually burn incense or copal resin. Often found interred in walls. Many were found at the ceremonial centre of Palenque depicting the sun god Kinich Ahau (large eyes, aquiline nose, T-shaped tooth); platter Late Classic period 600- 900 AD Coyotlatelco-Texcalac Phase; Centre- female figurine Late Classic 700-900 AD Coyotlatelco-Texcalac phase; at back part of female figurine Classic 600 - 700 AD; to right a fat man Late Classic 700 - 900 AD; Clay man from central Veracruz Late Classic Period AD 800-900, left at rear beaker Classic 600-800 AD Copador style; front left beaker Late Classic Coyotlatelco-Texcalac 700- 900 AD; far right pot Classic 300- 700 AD. Central beaker 300-900AD shows Popol Vuh
5. Maya. The upper segment of these Maya polychrome ceramic vessels contains glyphs that characterise the depicted scene, but the signs merely enunciate a set of symbols that confound immediate comprehension. Pictorial representations of this nature are inscribed in Mayan funerary art and often allude to mythical episodes related to life after death. Other times, however, scenes refer to facts or characters. On the central beaker are four young men in a war or ritual hunting, with strokes that evoke the skin of the jaguar or chacbolay. In Mayan mythology, Hunahpu is the Blowgun and Universal hunter, who brings food to men. The number and age of the characters refers to accounts in the sacred book. "These are the names of the first men created and formed: the first man was Balam Quitzé, the second Balam Ahab, the third Mahucutah and the fourth Iqui Balam". In the Popol Vuh, there are numerous allusions to the number 4 and to 2 pairs of young people or twins.
Teotihuacan; central figure is from the Late Classic period 650- 750 AD Metepec phase. The smooth bowl in background is Mixtec.
6. The valley of Teotihuacán culture (1-600 AD) is northwest of Lake Texcoco, in the highlands of Mexico. In the Teotihuacán valley, previous cultures, Cuanalán and Tezocuya developed, giving rise to a certain social complexity with astronomical and agricultural knowledge, as well as to an agricultural warrior economy that laid the foundations for the emergence of Teotihuacán. Teotihuacan influence was strongly felt throughout Meso-america, as far as to remote Veracruz, Guerrero, Oaxaca and the Mayan region. It is thought that the city gained migrants from different villages, becoming a cosmopolitan nucleus. The name of Teotihuacán in Nahua means "place where the gods are born", which demonstrates the relevance this culture had in later periods. Despite the relative aridity this territory is well endowed with water from three rivers that flow into the lake and are still used to irrigate the fields. The Teotihuacan economy was based on extensive agriculture, especially of maize, beans and chillies, to support a large urban population. Extensive irrigation systems were built that included dams to store water and the first chinanpas (artificial islands) used as areas of cultivation. Along with agricultural production, trade was an important activity for the economy of this society, accessing resources from great distances. The presence of nearby volcanic hills allowed them to exploit raw materials such as obsidian for knives, razors and projectile points, as well as other stones for building or tools. The architecture reached astounding levels of perfection, not only because of the astronomical orientation of its buildings and streets, but also in its shapes and settings. Stone heads of gods, columns of bas-reliefs with symmetrical designs and decorations of monumental size, are examples. Delicate masks with inlays of semi- precious stones or representations of animals with mythical characteristics are important. Stone braziers with the image of the god Huehueteotl (the old God of Fire) are common and despite their schematic lines, reach great expressiveness. In pottery they achieved mastery in the decorated polychromatic incensario and braziers with lids. The representations of heads of gods or priests with huge headdresses are characteristic and indicate the perfection acquired by master potters. Among the techniques used are moulds, pastillage, modelling, incision and post-firing painting in bright red, green blue and yellow. Teotihuacans mural art is a faithful reflection of the flora and fauna, including insects. The state was governed by nobles and priests who possessed knowledge of astronomy, economics, religion, war and art. Further down were traders and skilled artisans, who produced goods of high value for the upper classes. At the base were peasants, who lived in modest sectors of the city or small villages near the fields. Teotihuacán was the first city of America with more than 100,000 inhabitants. Each street and temple was aligned with certain astronomical dates, giving the entire urban complex a ritual and cosmic order. The city possessed different ceremonial centres crowned by pyramids to the gods. There were merchants or artisans quarters. The growth of the city made it a meeting point for many towns that also formed their "ethnic neighbourhoods”.
Figure of a god (?Xipe-Totec) dressed in a male flayed skin from central Veracruz Classic Period (AD 300-900).
7. Toltec. Later inhabitants of Teotihuacan and Monte Alban worshipped a flayed skin fertility god (Xipe Totec= Our Flayed Lord) and an earth goddess (Toci) of which this was an earlier incarnation. Xipe-Totec was a god of spring, fecundity and perpetual renewal of the earth. At times, he was represented in a human skin, symbol of the renewal of nature and god of sacrificed warriors. The Toltec culture (800-1100 AD) rose on the high plains of central Mexico. Their civic and religious centre was at Tula, 100 km northeast of Lake Texcoco. The Toltec covered a region of wide valleys watered by large rivers, with two climate zones, one semi-arid, and another more humid (Eastern Sierra Madre). The Toltecs had an agricultural economy of staples such as maize in large fields, watering them with a complex network of irrigation canals. Like other Mesoamerican cultures, they engaged actively in trade to obtain goods and raw materials from distant lands. Stonework was their most developed art form, many stone sculptures depicting military scenes and images of human sacrifice. A typical Toltec subject is the Chacmool, a figure seated in a relining posture, cup resting on stomach and head facing one side. The architectural friezes of Tula are noteworthy for their representations of warriors, and powerful animals such as the jaguar, coyote, and eagle, as well as the mythical feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl. Human body parts such as skulls and crossed long bones are found alongside these scenes. Toltec architecture featured columns carved as warriors with atlatls (spear-throwers), spears, shields, and butterfly-shaped breastplates. The earliest Toltec ceramic style, Coyotlatelco style, predates the founding of Tula. Classic elements of this style include red and dark brown for decorating ceramic vessels. The Mazapa ceramic style developed later and spread throughout Mesoamerica as the Toltecs expanded political dominion. Characteristic Mazapa vessels are bowls decorated in the interior with straight or wavy lines and painted bright red. Toltec potters worked in Plumbate style, which originated in Guatemala and is one of the few New World ceramics that featured glazing, achieved by firing pieces with mineral paints in high temperature kilns. The Toltec State was formed from a number of tribal groups, principally the Toltec- Chichimec group. Toltec society was highly stratified, but its most powerful leaders were not priests, as in earlier cultures, but military chiefs organised into orders named after their totem animals; coyote, jaguar, eagle. Gods such as Quetzalcoatl were important and human sacrifice was performed to slake his thirst for blood. Prisoners of war were the usual sacrificial victims, and their skulls were later put on public display in a wooden structure called a tzonpantli. The Toltec inhabited fortified towns built around civic- ceremonial buildings, a main square with a central altar, surrounded by palaces, stepped pyramids and ballcourts. Tula city was built on a promontory overlooking the river, easily defended. The city was divided by streets, and social differences reflected in the size, distribution, and building materials used in homes, which ranged from those built on residential platforms near the ceremonial sector to three-room dwellings set around a central L-shaped patio, where domestic and daily ritual activities were conducted. Toltec culture is thought to have emerged from the amalgamation of several ethnic groups from northern Mexico. The Toltec-Chichimec group (from modern Jalisco and Zacatecas) marked the boundaries of the ancient Teotihuacan world. Their conquests gave them dominion over Mexico up to Guatemala/ Yucatan, and marked the birth of militarism in Mesoamerica. The reasons for the decline of the Toltec culture are unclear, but it is known that Toltec groups later emigrated, intermingling with local groups and bringing their ideas to prominent cultures including the Mayas and Aztecs.

Top of South America (from Nicaragua to Columbia/ Ecuador)
In Columbia: Capulí c500 BC-500 AD, Bahia 500BC-500 AD, Jama-Coaque 600 BC-400 AD cultures
In Ecuador: Valdivia Culture c6000-3300BC, Tuncahuán 3500-1800 BC, Machalilla c.2300-1800 BC heirs of Valdivia, Chorrera c1800-300BC (Late classic 1000-300 BC) descended from Machalilla, La Tolita culture 500 BC- 500 AD heirs of the Chorrera, Vicus culture 0-500 AD also from Chorrera, Veraguas 700-1530 AD Manta culture 800-1532 AD
Capulí. Masks c500 BC-500 AD. Desarrollos Region.
1. The Tolita, Jama-Coaque and Bahia cultures flourished along Ecuador's coast c1500 AD, worshipping feline-like deities. The people of the Capulí culture (500 BC-500 AD) inhabited the highlands of Ecuador and Colombia, a mountainous region over 3000 m high with a temperate climate and abundant rainfall during the wet season, feeding many rivers from its high peaks. The Capulí economy was based on the cultivation of maize, complemented by hunting. Guinea pig bones at some sites suggest that they may have domesticated it for food. Trade played an important economic role, allowing them to obtain goods and resources from distant regions, including the coast and Amazon rainforest. Capulí chiefs sold coca leaves, a significant source of wealth. Artistically, the Capulí are best known for ceramics, relatively simple in design but elaborately decorated. Vessels were decorated with black on red relief painting with repeated geometric designs such as rhomboids and triangles; incisions and modelling were also used. The most common vessels are pedestal plates, dishes with anthropomorphic figures integrated into the base (as bearers), anthropomorphic vessels, and anthropomorphic figures seated on stools with flat bases. Their life-like ceramic figures give an idea of the clothing, hairstyles, headdresses, and body paint used by the culture. Animal figures were also made, often with anthropomorphic features. Particularly noteworthy are the Capulí clay masks, remarkable for their detailed features and subtle expressions. Many figures take the form known as coqueros (coca-chewers), with one cheek puffed out from the wad of coca in the mouth. The Capulí also worked with metals to make nose rings, nipple covers, and musical instruments, decorated with geometric or zoomorphic figures such as monkeys or felines. The level of expertise achieved by some craftsmen suggests that specialists worked full time on such tasks. The Capulí may have been organised into a number of chiefdoms, each controlling a defined territory. The Capulí used two forms of burial. Some individuals were buried in shallow graves with grave goods of little value, while others were buried in tombs up to 40 m deep, with a lateral chamber containing three or more bodies accompanied by a rich array of grave goods, including high quality ceramics and gold artefacts. Some tombs were covered with large artificial mounds known as tolas, made from layers of earth packed down and burned, perhaps during the funeral rites. Music is believed to have played a key role in Capulí ceremonies, judging by the large number of gold bells and rattles found, and ceramic ocarinas that reproduce the shapes of seashells. Capulí dwellings were made of perishable materials and located on the summits of the artificial hills (tolas), widely separated by open areas and situated around a larger mound that may have held a temple. The mounds were built in stages and took a variety of forms and sizes. The Capulí were descended from groups that inhabited the same territory in earlier times. During the 15th century, the Capulí made contact with the Inca, and in the 16th century with Spanish conquistadors.
Chorrera. Funerary pot Late Pre-classic 1000-300 BC.
2. Valdivia CultureThe oldest American ceramics appeared 6000 years ago in the tropical lowlands of Intermediate/ Amazon area, generally associated with the start of sedentary agricultural life. Villagers from Ecuador's Valdivia Culture c3300BC made domestic vessels imitating plant shapes and the first statues. Their Machalilla (c.2300BC) and Chorrera heirs c1800-300BC perfected the craft.
3. The Chorrera culture inhabited south Ecuador. The Guayas River and its tributaries provided them with both resources and transport. The Chorreras grew maize, gathered shellfish, hunted and picked wild fruit and nuts. Judging by ceramic images, they collected seafood from reed rafts and wooden canoes. Trade over water and land routes played an important role in their economy, especially the exchange of exotic stones such as obsidian, lapis lazuli, and rock crystal, from which they made bead necklaces and other artefacts. Some raw materials may have been brought from regions as distant as Peru. The Chorrera produced highly polished ceramics with a mirror-like sheen, decorated with red, black, smoked, and yellow-white designs, separated with dots and incisions. These negatively painted pieces had an iridescent finish. Their vessels have realistic, life-like representations of animals, plants, fruit, buildings, and humans. The humans are represented in round, voluminous shapes, with headdresses or turbans (maybe a status symbol in Chorrera society). Many ceramic forms were inherited from the earlier Machalilla culture, but new forms included the whistle bottle, which makes a sound when air is blown over the neck or when the liquid inside is swirled around. Small, smooth, solid ceramic figures are ascribed to this culture, as well as larger hollow figures with asymmetrical decorations. The Chorrera probably lived in relatively small groups of 100-200 individuals related by kinship or reciprocity. The restricted use of earpieces and the presence of particular types of ceramics in certain gravesites, suggests a society with ranks. Little is known about the rituals of the Chorrera, although coca chewing played an important role, as containers have been found that were used for storing llipta, an alkaline substance that was mixed with the coca leaf. Chorrera settlements were located on bluffs overlooking tributaries of the Guayas River, but houses were built from perishable materials. Chorrera culture was descended from the Machalilla culture, but certain features of their ceramic style such as colours and motifs suggest a link with the Ocós culture of Mesoamerica.
La Tolita. Female figurine Tolita culture 500 BC- 500 AD
4. The La Tolita culture (500 BC- 500 AD) extended along the coast of Ecuador to Colombia, at the southern edge of the tropical coast, beyond which the landscape becomes arid. It is an area of dense rainforests, high rainfall and abundant wildlife, crossed by broad, navigable rivers with many islands at their mouths. La Tolita’s economy was based on growing corn and yucca, hunting and using marine resources. Being located at the mouths of large rivers flowing from the Andes positioned them favourably for trading with mountain groups, even those in the jungle on the other side of the Andes. La Tolita potters used sandy, greyish clay to make jugs, pitchers, cups, tripods and yucca graters. The many figurines they made were finely crafted and realistically detailed, almost all having nose rings, ear ornaments, and other bodily ornaments. Notable are their statues of mythical beings, including some half human-half animal. Incense burners are a distinctive item, some very large. They worked with semiprecious stones (emeralds, quartz, agate and turquoise), which they mounted in gold and silver pieces. The metalworkers of La Tolita were the first in the world to work with platinum. La Tolita society was probably divided into classes; peasants, metalworkers, craftspeople and at top a ruling elite, who governed the group’s different districts from urban centres. Judging by images on ceramics and metalwork, they worshipped a wide range of mythical beings, notably big cats, serpents, primates and frogs. Ceramic representations of erotic scenes may have been associated with fertility and sexual initiation rites. They buried their dead with jewels, clothing, and implements. Little is known about their settlements, although at least two major centres have been identified, at Bahía de Tumaco (Colombia) and Isla de La Tolita (Ecuador). The latter contains many man-made mounds, known as tolas, which gave rise to the name La Tolita. They built their dwellings and temples on the top of these mounds. Many of them lived along the coast and riverbanks, building homes of perishable materials. The origins of La Tolita are strongly rooted in local traditions, especially the Chorrera. They were in contact with the Jama-Coaque, Bahía and other cultural groups of Ecuador/ Colombia, and helped disseminate metallurgy and metalworking to Central America.

Chavín culture 1000-400BC, Cupisnique style (Horizonte) 700- 400 BC followed by Moche culture 1-800 AD subsumed by the Wari Empire, but followed by the Chimú culture 900-1400 AD.
Parakas people 700-100 BC; the Nazcas culture 100-700 AD were their heirs.
Tiwanaku culture 100-1100 AD., rivals to the Wari Empire 550-1000 AD
1. Chavin. Peru. The Chavín culture 100-400BC is named after the site of Chavín de Huántar, located in a fertile valley in Peru, at an altitude of 3135m. Chavín economy was based on agriculture. Although it is not known how sophisticated their irrigation systems were, the variety of domesticated plants (maize, beans, squash, potatoes, quinoa) shows a deep knowledge of agricultural techniques. They complemented their farming with marine resources, and hunting. Judging by their middens, llamas played an important role for both diet and transport. The word ‘Chavín’ also refers to an artistic style characterised by symmetry, repetition, curved lines, metaphorical imagery, and motifs such as crossed fangs, the “eccentric eye”, dilated nostrils, and claws. Much of the intricate, stylised imagery of the Chavín style was inspired by the flora and fauna of the Amazon rainforest, crocodiles, felines, snakes, eagles, and plants. This style was expressed in different media with a high degree of complexity. It reached its highest expression in Chavín stonework; enormous temples, sculpted standing stones and obelisks with figures half man-half feline, including Lanzón, Estela Raimondi, and Obelisco Tello. This preference for working in stone is reflected in Chavín pottery, which is stone-like in appearance, grey and decorated by incision. Chavín ceramics are remarkable for their technical quality, as well as an emphasis on shaped decorations and in a few exceptional pieces, the application of coloured pigments. Vessels include fruit-shaped bottles with stirrup handles, bowls, and simple bottles. It is believed this was a mother culture (ie no outside influence), the first in the Andes. Chavín society was based on kinship bonds, bloodlines and clans, the status of which was linked to their closeness to a common ancestor, possibly mythological in origin. Individuals may have been skilled in particular tasks, but activities were organised by priests in a theocratic society, in which religious rituals endowed rulers with the privilege and prestige necessary to wield political control. Chavín deities spread through the Central Andes. A feline is a central figure, and its presence is seen in human forms that hold sceptres adorned with large curved fangs and serpents wound around their heads and waists and sporting the claws of birds of prey, giving snakes and eagles their place among the animals that lent their powers to these divinities. Calancha reports that the God Pachacamac sowed the teeth of his half-brother, whom he had killed in an act of jealousy and of them was born corn, whose seeds resemble the teeth. He then planted the ribs and other bones, from which came the cassava and other tubers. From the flesh came the cucumbers, pacaes and other fruits and trees. Hallucinogenic plants appear in Chavín iconography, suggesting shamanism played a role in rituals. Chavín burials range from simple trenches containing skeletons, to elaborate graves covered with stones. An increase in population is reflected in more villages, generally of 20-30 dwellings of perishable materials, or less often of adobe or stones cemented with mud. The shape of these dwellings varied by region, but were generally rectangular or semicircular. Ceramic models have been found depicting houses with pitched roofs, possibly a style used in the mountains, as the low rainfall on the coast would have made them unnecessary. The great innovation in this period was the monumental architecture of Chavín ceremonial sites, building complexes or temple-pyramids consisting of superimposed platforms of stone and/or conical adobe bricks. An outstanding example is the great ceremonial centre at Chavín de Huántar, which features several temples, passageways, plazas, sunken patios, and underground galleries with unusual acoustics. Some constructions were aligned with astronomical orientations. The Chavín culture represents the consolidation of several long-term cultural processes in the Andes; the invention of ceramics and agriculture, village life, and monumental architecture. The dissemination of the Chavín artistic style, mainly through textiles and ceramics, and the spread of their religious ideas, provided the cultural foundation of many societies that later arose in the Andes. Possibly Chavín de Huántar continued as a pilgrimage site until the arrival of the Spanish. Moche. Mythological beasts (begging animal centre left) and real (reclining feline which is a transition from Vicus to Moche culture), mainly Moche Intermediate Period 100-800AD
Moche. Bowl at back left with serpent, main is a fox (zorro) drinking cup. Intermediate 100- 800 AD.
2. The Moche culture 1-800 AD inhabited the coast of northern Peru, concentrating in the valleys of Lambayeque, Chicama, Moche and Virú. This desert region is crossed by several rivers that flow to the Pacific, where marine resources are plentiful. The Moche began as an agricultural-maritime culture, but after expanding inland they focused on farming and herding. They channelled river water to irrigate extensive crops, which included cotton, maize, peanuts and beans. They raised herds of llama and domesticated dogs and guinea pigs. From the coast they obtained marine resources to use and for trade. Surplus goods were stored in silos and granaries administered by Moche authorities. The Moche produced fine ceramic, textile and precious metal pieces. Their characteristic style is in a wide range of goods such as fire-engraved gourds, wall murals, featherwork, art, body painting and tattoos. Their ceramic decoration displays a level of skill rarely surpassed, and included such techniques as incision, bas-relief with stamps, and painting on smooth surfaces. Many were made in state-run workshops that mass-produced pieces from moulds. Their ceramics came in a variety of forms and decorative styles and displayed myths and ritual motifs as well. Notable are the “portrait bottles”, moulded with the face of a well- known Moche figure. These highly detailed facial portraits reflect the Moche’s use of face paint and/or tattoos, as well as elaborate headdresses. Their expertise can be seen in everyday scenes and erotic representations. They were skilful metalworkers, using gold, copper and silver to make ear ornaments, nose rings, bracelets, necklace beads, tweezers and a variety of tools. Especially notable is the tumi or ceremonial knife, restricted to Moche officials. At its zenith, the Moche culture appears to have been organised into two independent states that controlled the north and south respectively. Both were extremely hierarchical, in which warriors held a high rank. The highest political position in Moche society seems to have been a warrior-priest, frequently represented in Moche art. Beneath this official were several social classes, including artisans, merchants, peasants, herders and fishermen. Prisoners of war were treated as slaves and often sacrificed to the gods. Moche ceramics provide detailed representations of their supernatural world, including deities, myths, sacred animals and ceremonial practices. Their deities take the form of foxes, owls, hummingbirds, falcons and felines. These figures were servants of greater gods that held human form and sported elaborate outfits and ferocious faces with crossed fangs. Tombs of important individuals were rectangular and made of adobe, with niches for offerings. The elite were buried with metal masks and a rich array of grave goods, servants and animals accompanying them; the famous “Lord of Sipán” is the most notable example. To take full advantage of the little fertile land available, the Moche located their settlements and cemeteries on non-arable land, close to hills (considered sacred). Their dwellings were of woven reeds and branches built on stone or adobe foundations, with gabled roofs. Public buildings such as pyramid temples, official residences, and fortifications were made of adobe and decorated with murals, reliefs and paintings with complex symbolism. Among the most important Moche temples are the Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Moon, trapezoidal adobe structures over 30m tall. Many of the motifs adorning early Moche ceramics were derived from the Recuay culture. These two peoples were certainly in contact, as all of the irrigation waters the Moche used flowed down from Recuay territory. In the early years, the Moche had contact with the Salinar and Gallinazo cultures. It is likely the Moche disappeared when taken by the Wari Empire, but it also suffered long periods of flooding by El Niño, which destroyed their farming infrastructure and helped precipitate their collapse. The final stage of the culture displays features that later appeared in Chimú culture.
Parakas and Chavin. Peru. The Monkey pot is Parakas culture Late Formative 200-600 BC, centre Chavin vessel, Cupisnique style 700-400 BC, right a Late Horizonte style Chavín vessel 900- 700 BC.
3. The Parakas people inhabited valleys in Ica and Pisco on the southern coast of Peru. This desert zone faces a seacoast rich in natural resources. The Parakas were an agricultural people, growing maize, squash, cotton, beans and yucca. However, they obtained most of their food from the sea by fishing and gathering shellfish, seaweed and other products. They are known for the expertise of their medicine men, who successfully performed complicated trepanations. Parakas ceramic bottles feature bridge-handles and double necks, and many were painted with resinous pigments after firing, giving vibrant blue, yellow, red, orange, green and brown colours. Parakas craftspeople were skilled in textile making, producing multicoloured cloth of excellent quality. Their early work includes double cloth textiles and gauze embroidered with animal motifs in light blue, yellow, brown, white and black. Later, human figures begin to appear, holding severed trophy heads and weapons. We do not know how Parakas society was organised, though funerary offerings give evidence of some degree of social stratification. The cult of the dead appears to have been important to them. The bodies were placed fully clothed in a squatting position inside woven baskets wrapped with alternate layers of plain and embroidered cloth, with some funeral bundles up to 20 such layers. Between the layers of cloth they deposited offerings such as musical instruments, feather fans, combs, miniature pieces of cloth, and other items. Many pieces were covered with images of fantastic beings with feline, serpent or marine animal features, or human figures spitting out mythological animals and bearing a variety of weapons (probably deities that occupied a central place in the rites and worship of the dead). A notable figure in Parakas iconography is “the Sacrificer”, depicted holding a severed head in one hand and an axe in the other. Most Parakas settlements are seasonal camps close to the coast and at the edges of valleys, with rooms built together to form groups of houses. The stone walls were mortared with seaweed and filled in with waste and shell rubble. Later, the Parakas built larger settlements around temples made of adobe mounds. Initially, the culture was heavily influenced by the Chavín culture, although over time it acquired its own distinctive features, notably the rich polychromy of its artistic work. This polychromatic legacy left its mark in southern Peru and reached its highest expression in the Nazcas, who were the direct heirs of the Parakas tradition.
Nasca Intermedio Temprano 400-700AD (Culture 100-700 AD)
4. The Nazca culture was located in the valleys and coast of southern Peru, around Pisco, Ica, Cañete, Acarí and the Nazca Valley. This coastal desert region is carved by narrow fertile valleys. The Nazca introduced major advances in agricultural technology, building underground aqueducts for groundwater that enabled them to water their fields in an arid environment, growing maize, squash, beans, chilli peppers and other crops. The Nazca are most famous for their geoglyphs, enormous drawings on the desert floor north. The Nazca were skilled ceramicists, renowned for their fine, complex painted imagery and especially their polychromatic motifs, some of which contain 6-7 different colours. The typical Nazca vessel was a bridge handled bottle with two spouts, often painted with domestic images such as flowers, fruit, birds, animals and insects, though some bear mythological figures or individuals with both human and animal attributes. Nazca society achieved a political complexity similar to that of Andean societies, but their central authorities were mainly priests, who organised community work and led ceremonies. A large number of skilled tradespeople served these officials, including ceramic and textile makers, astrologists, musicians and soldiers. People lived in small cities and ceremonial centres such as the Cawachi complex. The Nazca buried their dead in funerary bundles composed of several layers of blankets and clothing, inside of which they deposited ceramic vessels and other grave goods. High-ranking individuals had more complex bundles up to several dozen layers of textiles. Dismembered human heads have been found in many graves, indicating the importance of human sacrifice, apparently associated with fertility rites. The Nazca used adobe for their public buildings, especially their temples. Their dwellings were made of lengths of cane tied together. Their major centres included Cawachi in the Nazca Valley (probably ceremonial), which contains a stepped pyramid 20m high built upon a natural mound and surrounded by plazas, residences and tombs. The Nazca were direct descendants of the Parakas people, in the same territory. The Nazca copied the rich Chavín tradition, and itself had a major influence on the Wari people, who would form one of the most extensive empires of the Andean region.
Chimu vessels. Pottery in Peru emphasised single colours (black, grey, brown) in the Chavin culture, polychromatic in the later Moche Culture, and saw a return to monochromatic with Chimu (black, grey), a conscious return to the past.
5. Chimu culture 900-1400 AD. The Chimú on the north coast of Peru, reached 1300 km at its height. With its centre of origin in the Moche river valley, this state gradually incorporated territories/ populations from the Tumbes to the Chillón valleys. Most of this territory is characterised by a very arid coastal desert, crossed by a large number of rivers bringing water from the Andes. The rivers form fertile valleys that contrast with the surrounding desert. The sea, dominated by the Humboldt current, is one of the most productive in the world, becoming one of the main sources of resources, both for the Chimú, and those who preceded/ succeeded. Paradoxically, this arid territory sometimes suffers from the "El Niño", with its aftermath of torrential rains and floods. Through aqueducts that carried water from great distances and a wide network of irrigation canals, the Chimú gained large tracts of land in the desert to grow maize, pumpkins, chilli, beans, cotton, and cassava, as well as fruit trees to obtain pacay, papayas, chirimoyas and lúcumas. They collected molluscs, crustaceans and marine algae. The fishermen went to sea in small totora boats for fishing with hooks and large rafts with nets. They practiced scuba diving to access deeper water resources. In trade for the precious goods the Chimu artisans produced, the merchants obtained potatoes, wool, hides, meat and other products from the shepherds of the sierra; coca, wood, monkeys and feathers of tropical birds. Shells of the mollusc Spondylus, originally from the distant Ecuadorian coast, were among articles traded. In Chan Chan, their capital, there were two caravan terminals, where more than 600 individuals were in charge of transporting goods to and from the city. Chimu craftsmen were skilled in art, carving wood, making mats and working in semiprecious shells and stones. From the close relations with their neighbours, the Lambayeque, who they would eventually incorporate in their empire, their goldsmiths perfected techniques to produce prestige goods, such as glass, earrings or masks, in copper, silver and gold, used especially in ceremonials by the nobles. Textile making was a prestigious and influential handicraft. Chimu pottery, although it took elements of the preceding Moche, especially the preference for bottles with shaped figures of various species, stood out for returning to the older Andean traditions. Similar to the Chavín, Chimu potters preferred their pieces had only a shiny black appearance on their surface. Chimú society was rigidly hierarchical. Political, economic and social power was concentrated in an hereditary aristocracy, under which was a class composed by smaller officials, merchants and skilled craftsmen. These two classes lived in the urban centres, strictly segregated. The nobles lived in complexes separated from the rest of the city by high walls, with restricted access. Peasants and fishermen lived on the outskirts of cities and in small villages scattered throughout the territory. Chimú rituals revolved around crop fertility, a crucial aspect in a state that, in an arid environment, depended on agriculture. Many rituals consisted of the worship of the mummies of the ruling dynasties. These rituals ranged from large mass ceremonies held in large squares, with mummies carried in procession, to private rituals in smaller enclosures. In Chimu ideology, the only way to secure the fertility of their fields was by honouring the ruling dynasties embodied in the mummies of their predecessors. Probably this was also political, since near the places where the mummies were worshiped, were great warehouses where goods were ceremonially distributed to allies or defeated enemy chiefs. Chimú culture was highly urbanised, dominated by the city of Chan Chan, one of the most important cities of antiquity, 20 km2. Each successive Chimu ruler probably built the 11 citadels that form the nucleus. Each had a set of intricate corridors, squares and enclosures, surrounded by perimeter walls up to 11m high and 600m long that left only narrow access to its interior. Each of these monumental ceremonial/ political centres was built entirely of adobe walls, with smaller spaces where rites were performed. Many walls, especially those of the large squares, have friezes of waves, fish, birds and marine motifs. Outside these segregated spaces, officials and artisans lived in modest buildings of adobe surrounding the citadels.
Vicus. Peru. Typical Vicus architectural model of a house with a grotesque individual inside. Double roof (to deal with heavy rain) supported by posts around an airy space, diagonal lines on the body represent stairs to a hill or platform (the mounds in this culture's sites). Vicus AB (Phase Temprana); Vicus and Moche. The metal insect in front is Vicus Culture, the metal balls are Moche culture Intermediate Period 100- 800 AD (probably these were mollusc decoration for a necklace) and the shield-like piece is a Moche musical instrument c100- 800 AD)
6. The Vicus culture (0-500 AD) developed in Piura, mainly in highlands at the foot of the Andes, although it was also related to the coast and the mountain range. It is a desert area, but it has some rivers and lagoons with abundant land for cultivation and pastures for the cattle. The Vicus developed a complex hydraulic system with rainwater collectors and channels to irrigate the fields. They cultivated pumpkins, squash, corn and some fruits, as can be derived from the decoration of their pottery, complemented by livestock. They collected guano for use as fertilizer. The Vicus worked with metal to create earrings, masks, nose rings, necklace beads, rattles, plates, crowns and headdresses with sequins and feathers that produce sounds with the movement. Many items are adorned with anthropomorphic, zoomorphic, geometric, and hybrid motifs. Vicús pottery stands out for its patterned decoration and depiction of local wildlife such as deer, rodents, felines, monkeys, ducks, parrots, owls, iguanas and snakes. Some representations have characteristics of two or more animals, alluding to a mythical character. Other vessels represent humans in different activities, such as warriors, weavers or characters in unique outfits interpreted as priests. Some have erotic attitudes, perhaps related to beliefs about fertility. Judging by their frequent representation in art, warriors played a central role in society. The existence of complex craftsmanship testifies to full-time artisans. Music played an important role in their ritual life, as their burial mounds contain a large quantity of instruments, such as drums, flutes or whistle bottles. In ceramics, musicians playing antaras are one of the most common representations, appearing many times in themes alluding to funeral rites. The population was concentrated in the highlands in settlements on the small hills that dominate the valleys, composed of about 100 houses of quadrangular shape, made of mud adobe, although there are stone bases too. From the ceramic models it can be seen that they had simple walls, doors, open windows, and a simple sloping roof on wooden beams. There are also structures with only ceilings, and more complex buildings with several rooms and domes. The origins of Vicus were in cultures like Chorrera, with whom it shares aspects of the pottery tradition (technique, form and decoration) and was also influenced by other contemporary groups, such as Virú and Moche.
Tiwanaku culture Llama, Jaguar and Vase 400-600AD (far right is most of an incense burner)
7. Tiwanaku. From the Tiwanku site, located a few km south of Lake Titicaca, the Tiwanaku culture 100-1100 AD extended its influence through Bolivia, Peru, north Argentina and north Chile. However, its nucleus was in the altiplano surrounding the lake, characterised by a hard climate and an altitude above 3400m. In spite of cycles of aridity, floods and frozen constants, the zone is rich in llama and alpaca pastures, as well as good for the cultivation of tubers. Tiwanaku grew thanks to its strategic location in the lake basin, where caravan routes converged. This position allowed it to control the trade in goods produced in zones of lower altitude, like coca, corn or ají. To deal with the impact of climate on agriculture, they built elevated crop fields, known as "ridges" or sukakollos, which avoided floods and, at the same time, gathered humidity, moderating abrupt changes in temperature and providing abundant crops. The artists of Tiwanaku were masters of stone. They constructed stone walls that fit perfectly, some with embedded or carved figures, such as the heads of Kalasasaya temple or Puerta del Sol, showing a high architectural and artistic level. Great statues carved in stone columns represent people standing in hieratic attitude. Among the most common designs that illustrate the worldview of Tiwanaku, are felines with wings, snakes with feline heads, animals with human attributes and vice versa. Particularly noteworthy is the Lord of the Sceptres' motif, a frontal figure, almost always on a stepped platform, bearing command symbols in his hands. The most typical ceramic is the kero vessel, narrow based and wide mouthed, used to make ceremonial libations, richly decorated in black, white, and orange on a red base, although some have incised motifs. Tiwanaku iconography suggests an "imperial aesthetic," an essential part of power relations, circulating abbreviated versions of these figures around the state. Tiwanaku society consisted of a ruling aristocracy leading social and political aspects, especially in the redistribution of goods produced by full-time skilled artisans and a mass of peasants. It is assumed that Tiwanaku was a theocratic state, which means that social life was dictated by rites and ceremonies. Many ceramic characters present sacred attributes that have a long-standing in the Andean world, such as intertwined feline tusks. The Lord of the Sceptres is represented in the Sun Gate and other sculptural works. Their artistic representations show the use of hallucinogens in Tiwanaku rituals, reflected clearly in their development in the San Pedro culture in the north of Chile during the period in which it had relations with Tiwanaku. Tiwanaku represents the full development of the urban pattern of life. It is a hierarchical system of settlement, from the capital, then secondary towns, such as Ojje, Pachiri or Lukurmata, then rural administrative centres and finally a large number of mounds on which peasant families made their homes. Among the most impressive architectural works of Tiwanaku, as a civic-ceremonial capital, stands the Kalasasaya, which covers an area of almost 2 hectares and includes a semi-underground temple, where the "heads claves" were embedded in the stone walls. There are two stepped pyramids, Akapana and Puma Punku. Within the motifs of Tiwanaku art, the llama occupies a place as important as the feline, falconid and caiman. The llama (back of picture) was often used in art by the indigenous artists in the region of San Pedro de Atacama.
Most pieces are Wari 700-1100 AD apart from the pot with stylised suns decoration (Nasca Intermediate 100 BC-700 AD).
8. Wari. The capital of the Wari Empire (550-1000 AD) was located in the highlands of Southern Peru, near Ayacucho. At its height, the empire stretched from Cajamarca in the north to Arequipa in the south, from the Andean highlands to the Pacific coast, making it one of the largest Andean states in history. Wari culture displayed a high level of urban development, although in areas further from the centre a peasant village lifestyle predominated. The Wari engaged in economic and cultural exchange with other states, particularly Tiwanaku, despite the fact that relations between the two were tense. Wari agriculture relied on staples such as maize, potato and quinoa and on raising herds of llamas and alpacas. Nevertheless, this was an urban culture that directed its economy with strategic planning, making its cities the driving force behind the production and distribution of agricultural goods and manufactured wealth. Wari ceramic crafts display influences from three styles. Many of their designs are similar to those of Tiwanaku and Pukara, such as the figure of the winged shaman or the Sceptred Figure, while their most notable ceramic vessel, the twin-necked bottle, is evocative of Nazca culture. Wari ceramics are polychrome, with a highly polished surface. Some large, elaborately decorated polychrome pieces were probably used for ceremonial purposes and display the high technical expertise achieved by Wari craftsmen in large-scale production. Being an urban military culture, the Wari maintained a rigid social hierarchy. Priests and warriors occupied an important place in society and exercised their authority from its towns. It is believed the Wari state was a secular society with a warrior caste, rather than a theocratic state. However, the culture did maintain a religious structure that it imposed on the peoples it conquered, along with its economic and political customs. The Wari probably worshipped gods similar to those of the Tiwanaku, as the same iconography is found in the arts of both. The Wari were the first to develop ‘cities’ in the Andean area, great urban complexes with massive walls that protected homes, storehouses, streets, and plazas. They raised buildings for civil administration and military garrisons and their urban centres had districts for different trades such as potters and weavers. Their buildings were wide and consisted of a single floor. As a large empire, the Wari maintained a number of enclaves in different regions, such as those in the valleys of Nazca and Moquegua. The most immediate local forbears of the Wari were the Warpa culture, in the Ayacucho highlands. The Wari benefitted from early contact with the Nazca culture. As with Tiwanaku, the motifs of the Chavin found in Wari artefacts may have been introduced through Pukara. The Wari Empire expanded rapidly through military conquest and reached its zenith c650 AD, but its fall was fast. In the area of Lima, the Pachacamac culture developed its own sphere of influence to became a major rival of the Wari, and by 800 AD the Wari capital was deserted.

The central part of the second floor was dedicated to the Southern Andes, mainly Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay (although some spilled over into Chile). These were the Tafi in north Chile 300 BC-900 AD, the Ciénaga Culture of north Argentine and Chile 1-600AD, the La Aguada people of north-west Argentina to the arid far north of Chile (San Pedro de Atacama) 600-900 AD and the Santa Maria culture, again in northern Argentina / North Chile 1200-1470 AD.

South Andes
1. The Tafí culture 300BC-900 AD originated in the high plateau of Bolivia. It is probable that there were inter- ethnic contacts between Tafí and La Candelaria cultures. In the period of Regional Developments, the Tafi sites were supplanted by settlements of the Santamarian tradition, not as a cultural continuity, but as a rupture. Regarding religion, great monoliths, possibly in community ceremonies and linked to the ancestors, were located in ritual structures. However, there are also isolated monoliths inside dwellings, in fields and corrals, which could be testimony of a cult linked to agriculture. Stone and ceramic pipes with human or animal representations may have been used in these rituals to smoke psychoactive plants such as cebil. They were masters of stone sculpture, among which are large monoliths up to 3 m high, some decorated with motifs carved in bas-relief, such as stylised human faces that combine human and serpentine characters. The feline is heavily represented. Stone masks represent human faces. The pottery was monochrome and decorated with anthropomorphic and zoomorphic motifs using techniques such as incision, pastillaje and red slip. These ceramics maybe for rituals as they are sparse compared to simple domestic pottery.
2. Santa Maria culture 1200-1470 AD. The Santa María culture developed in a mainly dry and mountainous region, with large high plateaus. Agriculture that incorporated cultivated terraces and irrigation systems allowed Santa Maria to sustain a considerable population and even to generate surpluses that were kept in underground silos for exchanges or times of food shortages. They cultivated maize, potatoes, beans, quinoa and squash, and harvested the locust and chañar. They were excellent breeders, using different ecological niches to supply livestock forage. The availability of llamas as pack animals allowed them to develop economic and cultural exchanges. The metallurgy of copper, gold and silver were their most developed handicrafts, although this culture is especially known for quality bronze work used for the elaboration of ceremonial objects like decorated disks or bells. Copper tweezers, metal bracelets and pectorals, necklaces and badges decorated with human faces and snakes were made. The most notable pottery is the large funerary urn, profusely decorated with designs that reach a high level of abstraction and complexity, even though they insinuate figurative motifs, mainly characters with shields and serpentine designs. Santa Maria reached a great socio-political complexity, ruled by a hereditary family. There were warriors and priests, who occupied a high place in society. These characters appear to have been depicted in ceramics and metal pieces bearing distinct symbols of power, such as tunics, headdresses, weapons, or trophy heads. The designs on ceramics and metal pieces represent the symbolic importance of certain human figures and animals such as the toad, suri or Andean ostrich. Judging by their common representation, these motifs were an important part of funerary rites and worship of the dead. The first Spanish chroniclers report that the deceased were veiled for several days and then buried with costumes, ornaments, food, drinks and objects. Adult burials were in cylindrical funerary chambers, repeatedly opened to house new bodies. Many funeral urns were decorated with anthropomorphic faces with zoomorphic and geometric motifs. A few sites show urban development. The population settled on hills, plateaus or scattered along rivers. The dwellings, mainly of stone double walls, were 2/3 rectangular rooms that opened into a large courtyard. By 1430 the Inca had come into contact with this culture, bringing changes in material and socio-political aspects, although the fundamental cultural nucleus and language of these populations remained unchanged until the arrival of the European conquerors.
Funerary Urn Santa Maria c1270; ceremonial clava Mapuche c1500

Still on the main floor was the darkened textile room. Really well done too; you could pull open the drawers to find more examples and their information. We hadn't appreciated the archaeological/ cultural value of textiles before this exhibit!

Chilean Cultures
On the lower floor of the museum were the Chilean cultures; giant Mapuche wood statues, Râpa Nui artefacts, the famous Chinchorro mummies, some amazingly complex quipu, pottery and stone tools.
1. The Chincherro culture, 7000-1500 BC occupied the far north along the coast of north Chile/ south Peru, a region where the desert coast is extremely arid, but rich in marine resources (fish, sealions, gulls). Creeks that reach the sea bring fresh water, vegetables and shrubs. The name of this culture is from Chinchorro beach, Arica, where the first remains were found. The Chinchorro specialised in marine resources, for which they had a diverse set of tools, including hooks of cactus spine and harpoon tips with different ends for different prey. The ears of their mummies show they practised diving to great depths. They ate vegetables, and cultivated cotton and squash to make nets, bags and containers. Their art is reflected in their mummies. These had turbans of twisted vegetable or animal ropes, adorned with conch and malachite beads. The face was covered by a fine mud mask and the body wrapped with elaborate animal and/ or vegetable textiles as strips and cords, different colours at each date, but ochre and terracotta tones pre-dominate. Some mummies have totora skirts. The bodies rest on mats of vegetable fibre and animal fur, accompanied by instruments (bow, stoles, knives, harpoons) or sheets of native copper in a funeral bundle. They practised cranial deformation. They did not appear to have a social structure, living in small bands, although specialists in mummification existed. The Chinchorro Culture is the first manifestation of a cult of death / ancestor worship in arid South American, manifested in the complicated process of mummification which consisted of body dismemberment, the removal of muscles and viscera, replaced by vegetables, feathers, pieces of leather, wool fleeces and other materials. The body was reassembled with ash and clay and covered in black paint. The earliest techniques produced black mummies, with the later, simpler methods making red mummies. Then the body was covered with a layer of clay and human hair used to make a wig for the head. This process went through several stages: at first only newborns and children were mummified, using strong colours and accompanied with clay figurines. At the climax of culture (c3000 BC) all ages were mummified, mainly using red, black and coffee. In the twilight of this culture, only masks of mud were applied to bodies. In the latest phase only the innards and brain were removed and the body was reinforced with sticks rather than dismembered, then painted red. Repeated repairs to mummies suggest their use in rituals. The mummies were not buried but left flush with the surface and given their extended position, presumably were standing, forming an active part of life, perhaps as territorial marks to support the lineage from a common ancestor. A possible antecedent of this culture is Acha, c6000 BC, in Azapa valley, but they did not mummify. The Chinchorro culture is related to the Culture of Conch's Hook and Abtao, with which they share technological aspects, particularly the harpoon. The last stage of Chinchorro (c2000 BC) is intertwined with the Quiani Phase, who followed them, after a simplification of mummification.

2. The Mapuche culture (c1200-1900 AD) was the dominant culture in central Chile (and is now +90% of the indigenous population). For more on this culture see Lakes. Other cases contained Rapa nui artefacts from Easter island (For more see Easter Island), Horizonte Inka and the Diaguita Culture 1200-1470 AD.
Mapuche artefacts- Axe, Bolas stones, stone bowl with duck-head handles c1300, ceremonial clava (sticks) c1600; Mapuche chemamüll wooden statues used to mark a grave; Rapa Nui kavakava statue; Horizonte Inka quipu c1400;
The Diaguita, who may have come from Quechua or Aymara people (it means hill in both languages) live in the far north (Elqui) from c1000AD. Alternatively they may be descended from the Diaguita-Calchaqui people across the Andes in north Argentina, speaking Kakan (now extinct and the only dictionary lost). Most of their ceramics are small bowls, decorated in red, white and black with geometric designs and some stylised faces.

Posted by PetersF 15:17 Archived in Chile Tagged history museum chile bahia santiago archaeology nazca teotihuacan maya tiwanaku chavin chinchorro aztec nayarit veracruz valdivia moche zapotec olmec mapuche chimú guerrero toltec colima pre-columbian santa_maria chupícuaro mixtec capuli la_tolita chorrera vicus wari parakas tafi Comments (0)

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