Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Cultures > Arid North > Arica

Beliefs and funeral rites

The Arica culture possessed a religious system based on shamanism, which is reflected in the importance they placed on instruments used to inhale psychoactive substances, and perhaps in the kero cups from which they may have drunk mind-altering, hallucinogenic potions. Their ceramic and textile iconography commonly depicts individuals in a trance state, two-headed or winged beings, as well as animals known to have hallucinogenic properties, such as frogs and toads.
They buried their dead in underground burial chambers in large cemeteries. The bodies were laid to rest with legs bent and accompanied by a rich array of grave goods, including ceramic vessels of a single style, camelid wool textiles and a variety of domestic utensils.