Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Chile before Chile

Seventeen centuries of ceramic making in the Araucanía region

Around A.D. 300, the Pitrén, a horticultural-gatherer culture, became the first to make ceramics in southern Chile. Later, the agricultural El Vergel people, who lived between the Biobío and Toltén rivers, crafted pottery decorated with red geometric figures on a white background. After the Spanish arrived, European features were incorporated and the tradition transformed into what is known as the Valdivia style. The Mapuches continue this cultural tradition today, employing the ancient ceramic forms and techniques of their ancestors.