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    South by South America Tour – Chile Part 7

    Tuesday, August 27, 2019
    Santiago, Chile

    Wooden funerary statues made by the Mapuche people of South Central Chile at the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino in Santiago, Chile.
    Wooden funerary statues made by the Mapuche people of South Central Chile at the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino in Santiago, Chile.

    Intricately woven handbags at the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino in Santiago, Chile.
    Intricately woven handbags at the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino in Santiago, Chile.

    “The Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino is dedicated to the study and display of pre-Columbian artworks and artifacts from Central and South America. The museum is located in the city center of Santiago, the capital of Chile. It was founded in 1981 by the Chilean architect and antiquities collector Sergio Larraín García-Moreno, who had sought premises for the display and preservation of his private collection of pre-Columbian artifacts acquired over the course of nearly 50 years. With the support of Santiago’s municipal government at the time, García-Moreno secured the building and established the museum’s curatorial institution.”—Wikiipedia

    An infant mummy made by Chinchorro fishermen at the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino in Santiago, Chile.
    An infant mummy made by Chinchorro fishermen at the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino in Santiago, Chile.

    Fanciful hats made by the Andean people at the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino in Santiago, Chile.
    Fanciful hats made by the Andean people at the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino in Santiago, Chile.

    A wooden drum (circa 1200-1520) made by the Aztec people at the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino in Santiago, Chile.
    A wooden drum (circa 1200-1520) made by the Aztec people at the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino in Santiago, Chile.

    I saved a visit to Santiago’s best museum for last. A journey through the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino begins down within a deep, dark basement, where the visitor encounters an array of extremely elegant-looking displays. There were so many amazing pieces of art on offer, I don’t even know where to begin. Titled “Chile Before Chile,” this section examines the works of indigenous people from the earliest fishing groups 14,000 years ago up to the present day, including carvings, jewelry, mummies, textiles, weavings and much more in a dimly lit environment that evokes an aura of mystery. Unfortunately, it’s so dark down there that some of the information labels are nearly impossible to read.

    A circle of dancers made by the Colima and Nayarit people at the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino in Santiago, Chile.
    A circle of dancers made by the Colima and Nayarit people at the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino in Santiago, Chile.

    A masculine figure made by the La Tolita people (circa 500 AD) at the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino in Santiago, Chile.
    A masculine figure made by the La Tolita people (circa 500 AD) at the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino in Santiago, Chile.

    Lianas Rojas (2019) by Sheila Hicks at the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino in Santiago, Chile.
    Lianas Rojas (2019) by Sheila Hicks at the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino in Santiago, Chile.

    Right after I arrived, I noticed a young lady, who I assumed was Chilean, looking at me through a glass case. A few minutes later, when I turned around after checking out some wooden statues, she was shooting photos and / or video of me from behind. A little while after that, I turned around again and she was staring at me through another glass display case. Puzzled, I walked over and looked at her for a couple of seconds through the case. I never saw her again after that.

    Convergencia Pizzara (1996) and Caleidoscopio Indigo (1983) by Sheila Hicks at the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino in Santiago, Chile.
    Convergencia Pizzara (1996) and Caleidoscopio Indigo (1983) by Sheila Hicks at the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino in Santiago, Chile.

    An overview of some works by Sheila Hicks at the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino in Santiago, Chile.
    An overview of some works by Sheila Hicks at the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino in Santiago, Chile.

    A pedestrian poses in front of a mural on Avenida Bandera in Santiago, Chile.
    A pedestrian poses in front of a mural on Avenida Bandera in Santiago, Chile.

    Up on the second floor, which covers Pre-Colombian America, the lighting is much better. “Items in the museum’s collections are drawn from the major pre-Columbian culture areas of Mesoamerica, Intermediate / Isthmo-Colombian, Pan-Caribbean, Amazonia and the Andean. The museum represents over 3,000 people from 100 different ethnic groups. The collection spans a temporal range of about 10,000 years. The original collection was acquired based on the aesthetic quality of the objects, instead of their scientific or historical context. The collection is broken up into four areas: 1. Area Mesoamerica, which includes a statue of Xipe Totec, an incense burner from the Teotihucan culture, and a Mayan bas-relief.

    At the intersection of Calle Paris and Calle Londres in Santiago, Chile.
    At the intersection of Calle Paris and Calle Londres in Santiago, Chile.

    Looking north up Calle Londres in Santiago, Chile.
    Looking north up Calle Londres in Santiago, Chile.

    Looking north up Calle Londres in Santiago, Chile.
    Looking north up Calle Londres in Santiago, Chile.

    “2. Area Intermedia, which showcases pottery from the Valdivia people and Capuli figures chewing cocoa leaf. Gold objects from the Veraguas and Diquis cultures are also represented. 3. Area Andes Centrales features masks and copper figures, many of which were confiscated from graves. Examples include those from the Moche, as well as their textiles. The oldest textile in the museum, a painted cloth almost 3,000 years old from the Chavín culture, is also in this area. 4. Area Andes del Sur: This collection features modern Chilean and Argentinian pieces, including ceramic urns from the Aguada culture, snuff trays from the San Pedro culture, and an Incan quipu.”—Wikipedia. On the ground floor was an awesome exhibition of weavings and sculptural textile works by the American artist Sheila Hicks (born 1934), which were a pleasure to behold.

    Words and photos ©2019 Arcane Candy.

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