Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Chile before Chile

Shifting power symbols

For a long time, in San Pedro culture, the snuff-tray was the symbol of shamans and the axe the symbol of chiefs. After A.D. 1000, axes continued to symbolize political power but religious power came to be represented by the antara, a wooden panpipe. During that period, a single individual apparently held both political and religious power, as suggested by the figure carved onto this burial post, who holds an axe in his right hand and an antara in his left.