Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Native peoples > Atacameños


The main Atacameño arts include ceramics, basket weaving, textiles, goldsmithing, music and dance. The ancient ceramics of this region, made by the San Pedro culture, were monochrome red or black and very finely polished. Common pieces include pukos or bowls, pots, round pitchers, jars and cups, some of them decorated with abstract images of human faces or geometric patterns of triangles and zigzags.

These monochrome ceramic vessels are still made today, some with animal shaped molded adornments. Although some of the ancient basket weaving techniques seem to have been lost, modern weavers still produce remarkable large baskets and flat plates.

Modern Atacameños maintain a rich and diverse tradition of textile weaving using different types of looms to make bags, sashes, ornamental cloths, blankets, items of clothing, mule blankets and other accessories for herding.

Lastly, music and dance are central artistic and ritual expressions that are most often performed during the festival celebrating a community’s patron saint.