Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Chile before Chile


The first Spaniards to reach southern Chile had to face the native toquis, wartime commanders who carried polished stone toquicuras. Through their colour and size, these items conveyed the authority of the holder. When a toqui sent his toquicura covered in blood to other chiefs, they understood the message: Prepare to face the enemy. Hung from the necks of local Mapuche chiefs, these pendants were symbols of power and cultural identity.