As well as its magnificent permanent collection, the Pre-Columbian Museum in Santiago stages regular special exhibitions.
We were lucky enough to catch one about quipu, the lost language of the Inca.
Long assumed to be simply (if highly
sophisticatedly) a tallying system, these incredibly complex arrangements of knotted strings are now recognized as a proper recorded language - one of the five fundamental forms of recorded language that have no root in any other form of writing. (The others are Egyptian hieroglyphs, cuneiform, Chinese and the Mayan's pictographs)
It was a fascinating exhibition, beautifully presented and labelled - catching it was a real highlight of our visit to Santiago.
I hope you will be as lucky with whatever is on show when you are there. Do check it out.
Updated, January 16, 2008
Housed in the former colonial Customs House, Santiago's Pre-Columbian Museum (Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino) is a treasure house of extraordinary and beautiful artifacts representing the four and a half thousand years of civilzation that existed in Meso and South America before the arrival of Europeans. Encompassing regions stretching from Mexico in the north, east to the Amazon Basin and to the Southern Andes, the collection is unequalled anywhere for its artistic and aesthetic merits and depiction of the marvellous diversity of the cultures of this world. Magnificent Nazca textiles, the colours as clear and bright as the day they were made 1000 years ago; ceramics vigorously depicting men, animals and strange hybrid creatures, often with great humour; stone carvings of gods; a showcase of quirky hats - all this and much more.
The museum is very well laid out and the signage is excellent. Even if museums are not your thing, you should see this one. As well as the permanent collection there are regular special exhibitions. I've seen two of these now - the first on quipus (see the next tip) and, more recently, hats. Both of them blew me away with the fascination of their subjects, the amazing condition and beauty of the artifacts and the sophistication and elegance of their presentation.
The exhibition of hats has finished now but you can still catch it take a virtual tour here, the text is in Spanish but the images speak for themselves. Click on the hats and enter another world.
The current exhibition really packs a punch. Entitled Morir para gobernar it tells of dominant forces of sex and war in Pre-Colombian Meso-America through the medium of the superbly graphic ceramic art of the region - if you're heading for Santiago - don't miss it!
In the late - colonial Real Casa de Aduanas ( 1985).
Is a beautifull museum, chronicles 4500 years of Pre Columbian civilization in separates hall, most of the well preserved items come from the personal collection of the Larrain family but there are occasional special exhibits.
There is also a good bookstore and a coffeshop.
Open from Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 to 18:00 hrs.
The Museum of Pre-Columbean Art / Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino is also in the centre of town and its permanent exhibition is showing exhibits of the last 4500 years from South America as well as Mexico and the Carribean.
It is a pity I did not have enough time to go there, but at least I saw it from outside
The museum is open daily except mondays
between 10.00am and 06.00pm
This building was our former parliament. Oh yeah, and I've got to say it. It's much prettier that the new one in Valparaiso. That square with a hole in the middle... no comments... OK. Enough.
This museum has some nice gardens, and it was built in the 19th century. It is now the precolumbian museum and it has many indegenous crafts and history from our ancestors. Very interesting.
Students and children for free.
The rest of us: CLP 2.000
Excellent but small (as all museums in Santiago were) museum of Native American Art, specializing in the advanced cultures of South and Central America. Part of the attraction here is the colonial building in which the museum is housed.
This is a fabulous museum. It has one of the best artistic and archaeological collections that I have ever seen. If you want to see a large and comprehensive collection of stuff from Meso and South America, come here. The presentation, information, lighting etc is brilliant, and their tempory exhibitions (if the calibre is the same for all) are very interesting. All in all it is a great place to go - and the building is lovely too.
The museum had a fantastic collection of pre-columbian art.The early textile fabrics were amazing and the early pottery simply beautiful.This is a must do whilst in Santiago.The museum is well laid out and easy to view.Most artifacts were donated by the Larain family personel collection.You only need about one hour here as the museum is rather small.
I highly recommend visiting this excellent museum with a large collection and detailed explanations (in English too) of the Pre-Colombian art and treasures of ancient cultures of South America, Mexico and Central America.
Este museu possui um acervo incrivel de peças de povos que viviam na América antes da chegada de Colombo, como os Aymarás, Quechuas, Incas Mais dentre outros.
O museu possui dentre outras peças, utensilios como jarros, ferramentas de trabalho e armas, também incriveis estatuas de pedra representando homens em tamanho natural.
Este museo tiene una incrivel coleccion de cosas de povos que vivian en America antes de lo arribo de Colon aca, como los Ayamaras, Quechuas, Incas y otros.
Las obras mais increibles en la coleccion del museo son las artesanias de guerras y unas statuas de hombres de piedra en tamaño natural.
This museum holds an increadible collection of artefacts made by the people who lived in America before the arrival of Columbus here.
The most increadible pieces of the musem holds are the war artefacts and a few statues made of stone, wich represents soldiers in their natural sizes.