Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Predecessors of the chino flutes

These stone flutes, called antaras, were produced by the Aconcagua culture. The tubes are designed to produce a unique raspy sound that was probably important for the ritual context in which they were used. In religious festivals in Chile today, similar flutes are used by orchestras accompanying the chino dances (from the Quechua word meaning ‘servant’), in which rural, mining and fishing communities pay homage to their patron saints. The present-day flutes are made of wood and have a single tube, but sound the same as the ancient Aconcagua antaras.

Video Bailes chinos del Aconcagua

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Chino wooden flute Colección particular

Internal tube structure of the stone flute. Drawing, Alex Olave.