Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Cultures > Semi-arid North > Las Animas


The typical ceramic forms of the Las Ánimas featured high flaring sides, polished black interiors and exterior decorative fields with geometric designs in black on a red, salmon, crème or yellow background. Polychromatic iconography in ceramics also took hold at this time. With mollusk shells they manufactured pendants, recipients, and tablets, tubes and spatulas for the ingestion of hallucinogenic substances, while with white combarbalita stone and copper ore they made bead necklaces. The Las Ánimas people were also skillful metallurgists, especially with copper, which they used to make a variety of jewelry such as earrings, pendants, bead necklaces and brooches, as well as tools such as tweezers, fishing hooks, knives, chisels and hole-punchers. Their art included rock paintings, in which they used red pigment to create images of human figures, camelids and birds, as well as geometric designs. Another rock art image was “the sacrificer,” an emblematic figure in Andean religions who holds in his hands an axe and a severed human head.