Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Native peoples > Diaguita


The Diaguita are well known for their ceramics, which is a traditional craft in Huasco Alto. The ceramic workshops that remain in the villages of Chollay and Pachuy continue to practice the ancient techniques to make their pieces, which include large urns for storing food and dishes for daily use. Textiles are produced by women, especially those living in the Huasco communities of Junta de Valeriano, Chollay, Pinte and Chihuinto. The women spin the yarn from sheeps wool and color it with natural and artificial dyes, and then weave it in the traditional way on their “backyard looms”, producing blankets, ponchos, capes and bags of different sizes. They also manufacture a variety of cordage and braided items for horse and mule tack. The textiles have the same forms, techniques and styles throughout the valley, with subtle differences in coloring from locality to locality. The Huasco Diaguitas also practice the art of healing with herbal medicines, making infusions and ointments for different afflictions and illnesses. Chalinga is home to traditional Diaguita medicine practitioners who are known as the most skilled healers in the Choapa Valley. Among their various crafts, other members of Chalinga community have recovered ancient ceramic techniques and designs from their pre-Hispanic ancestors, and now benefit economically from their small businesses while reinforcing their indigenous identity and traditional lifeways.