Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Art > Rock Art

The pictographs of Milla

The rock art panels of Milla are not far from Alero de Taira, and there is little doubt that they were derived from the figures found at the latter site. The Milla panels contain large-scale red pictographs painted onto rock walls that are highly visible from the valley floor. The combined use of lines and flat painting are typical of the Milla pictographs. The figures themselves consist of schematic humans and large, lifelike camelids with empty body cavities and, occasionally, exaggerated cloven hooves.

On one of the panels, two camelids with blank faces, one with an empty womb, are depicted walking, followed by a person wearing a feather plume and preceded by another dressed in a tunic decorated with a zigzag motif and headdress similar to the traditional conical hats of the Tamarugal Pampa.

Another panel contains a scene that is explicitly linked to llama reproduction, revealing the creator’sconcern with herd fertility, similar to that reflected at Kalina and Taira. On the left of this scene, a male camelid copulates with a female, only distinguishable by the back of her neck and forward-facing ears. On the right, a herdsman pulls another llama by a rope tied around its neck, perhaps a second female that he is planning to breed with the stud. One remarkable feature is that the bodies of the camelids are covered with thin wavy lines, which may represent the wool that the herders hope to obtain from the offspring that results from the mating.

Location: Upper Loa River, Region II of Antofagasta.

Timeframe: Approximately 1000–1400 A.D.

Site: Milla

Source: J. Berenguer, 1999, “El evanescente lenguaje del arte rupestre en los Andes atacameños”, inArte rupestre en los Andes de Capricornio, J. Berenguer and F. Gallardo, eds., p. 37, Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, Santiago.