Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Talking through your hat

“Tell me what you wear on your head and I will tell you who you are,” seems to have been the motto of the Far North region, where for more than 3000 years turbans, caps, helmets and hoods that protected their wearers from the harsh desert climate also indicated their social status or membership in a particular ethnic group. Based on their presence in ancient tombs, these head coverings also accompanied their owners on their journey to the great beyond.

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Talking through your hat.

Talking through your hat.

Talking through your hat.

Hemispheric plush cap. San Pedro.

Lopped wool hat. Alto Ramírez. MCHAP, 2742.

Wool skein turban with accessories. Faldas del Morro. MCHAP, PE-216.

Hemispheric plush cap. San Pedro. MCHAP, 2987.

Polychrome wool four-cornered cap. Tiwanaku (Arica ). MCHAP, 2575.

Disc-shaped headdress with feathers. Pica Tarapacá. MCHAP, 2781.

Inhabitants of Tarapacá wearing different headdresses. Illustration, José Pérez de Arce.