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Museum of Chilean Precolombian Art

Discover a vast collection of pre-Colombian art, which presents a glimpse into the life and cultures of Latin America’s indigenous groups.

A visit to the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino (Museum of Chilean Precolombian Art) offers a fascinating look into the culture and artistic talents of Latin America’s pre-Hispanic societies. Spot ancient ceramics and pottery, textiles, headstones and silverware, from the north of Mexico to the southern Andes. Chilean architect Sergio Larraín García-Moreno founded the museum when he donated his private art collection for public viewing. 

The museum’s exhibits are displayed according to Latin America’s cultural areas. Learn about bodily adornments then spot Aztec figures and ceremonial masks in the Masterpieces gallery. Go to the Mesoamerican gallery to see Mayan pottery and a Xipe Totec deity sculpture from central Veracruz, Mexico, which dates to around A.D. 300 to 900. The wood and stone carvings in the Caribbean gallery showcase the culture of shamanistic rituals in the Caribbean. 

Don’t miss the intricately-decorated ceramics in the Amazonian gallery, which highlight the culture of the Amazon jungle’s indigenous societies. The Central Andean gallery covers Bolivia and Peru. Discover Andean musical instruments, gold and silver art from the Inca Empire and colorful textiles from Chile’s coastal region. Find artifacts from the Aymara and Mapuche cultures, Chilean headdresses and exceptional stone and metal work from northwest Argentina in the Southern Andes gallery.

Ask about temporary exhibitions, which cover everything from ancient fishing traditions in Chile to aboriginal art from Australia and Malaysian textile heritage. Take time to appreciate the museum’s building from the year 1805. It is one of Santiago’s finest examples of neoclassical architecture and during colonial times served as the Royal Customs House. 

Located in Santiago’s city center, the museum is a short walk from Plaza de Armas. Public buses and the metro stop close to the museum’s entrance. 

The Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino is open from Tuesday to Sunday, except for selected public holidays. The museum offers guided tours by prior appointment. Find opening hours, the temporary exhibit schedule, tour details and information about free admission days on the museum’s official website. Audio guides are also available to download for free from this website. 


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