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Chilean Museum of Precolombian Art reopens in Santiago

Santiago's Museum of Precolombian Art has reopened after an extensive refurbishment. The extensive permanent collection is organised into six different Latin American indigenous groups: Mesoamerica, Intermediate, Caribbean, Amazonian, Central Andes, Southern Andes and Chile.

The exhibits are varied, ranging from Ecuadorian ceramics and figurines to Peruvian masks, Andean textiles and an early Incan counting system consisting of knotted fabric. On the ground floor, home to the Chile exhibits, there are large wooden statues which measure around two metres in height. Known as Chemamüll, they are Mapuche burial statues which stood over a person's grave and were carved to represent the human being below.

Chemamüll Mapuche wooden burial statues

One of the main highlights are the Chinchorro Mummies - the Chinchorros were an indigenous group from northern Chile and Peru (dating as far back as 6000 BC) who practised a complex form of mummification which involved removing the skin and internal organs and filling bodies with mud and ash.

This was 2,000 years before the Egyptians started their practises of mummification.

Just one block from the Plaza de Armas, the museum is housed in a building that dates back to 1805 and was originally the Royal Customs House.


Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am - 6pm

Entrance $3,500