Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Traditional male attire

The unku or tunic was a central item of clothing for males. It was sleeveless and varied in length, sometimes reaching down to the knees. In the North, tunics were first used in Arica around 500 B.C., then spread across the desert. Altiplano men wore traditional unkus into colonial times, when they were finally replaced by European clothing. This tunic has a checkerboard design, a characteristic Inca motif. More complex versions of this motif are commonly found on tunics worn by Inca soldiers.

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Unku tunic with checkerboard design. Inka-Arica. Donación Santa Cruz-Yaconi 2898.