New York City Travel
Indians of South America exhibits and permanent collections in the museum. Guide and description for visitors.    
 
 
American Museum of Natural History.

SOUTHWEST WING
INDIANS OF SOUTH AMERICA

Included in this hall of the American Museum of Natural History are archaeological collections from the ancient peoples who lived along the western and north-western coasts of South America, and ethnological specimens from Indians who now live in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.

Near the entrance is a case containing gold, silver, platinum, copper and plated objects from indians of south america from Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru, consisting of miniature human figures, vessels, implements and ornaments recovered from prehistoric graves and burial places.

On the immediate- right is an exhibit of textiles from mummies and graves, together with examples of the raw material and weaving tools used in their manufacture.t7 The fabrics made by the ancient Peruvians stand unrivaled among those of ancient peoples. They were acquainted with every style of weaving known today, and some of their tapestry, in its fineness of weave, beauty of color and design, has never been excelled. Underneath some exquisitely designed and colored ponchos is a specimen secured from a mummy bundle which is the best piece of plain tapestry in the collection and so far as known the finest example of this class of weaving in the world. There are 44 warps and between 280 and 300 weft threads per inch The ornamental stripe is in bobbin weave resembling modern Jacquard weave. At the left of the entrance is a case containing exhibits which illustrate the ancient burial customs of the Peruvians.

From Colombia is a large series of ancient terracotta stamps for printing cloth, pottery vessels and stone implements from ancient burial mounds, in both human and animal forms, together with a series of specimens illustrating the manufacture of tapioca.

From Ecuador is a great variety of pottery and unique stone seats, and in the exhaustive series of pottery, gold. silver and copper objects will be noticed original specimens which are figured by E. G. Squier in "Incidents of Travel and Exploration in the Land of the Incas."

Numerous interesting objects have been secured from Chile, the most conspicuous, however, being the mummy, in the case near the west end of the room, which was found in a copper mine near Chuquicamata, Chile. The body is that of an Indian who was killed while engaged in miningcopper. The tissues of the body have been preserved by the copper salts with which it was impregnated. In the same case are the implements he was using at the time of his death.

The pottery collections from Nazca and Ica in Peru and the islands of Lake Titicaca in Peru and Bolivia contain specimens remarkable for their unique forms, beautiful coloring and the attractiveness of the conventionalized de-signs.

On the south side of the hall of indians of south america is a series of skulls showing trephining, artificial deformation and pathological conditions, together with a number of skulls of normal form for comparison. Near-by is a collection of musical instruments from the Incas, comprising whistling jars, wooden and clay trumpets, gongs and bells of bronze and copper, gourd rattles, Panpipes and bone and cane flutes.

Differing in form and workmanship from the stone yokes in the Mexican collection, but without doubt closely related in use, are the stone collars to be found in the Porto Rican collection. Their use is problematical; by some authorities they are believed to be the regalia of sacrificial victims, of military heroes, of ecclesiastics or members of some privileged caste.

Attention is called to the indians of south america exhibit of feather work and embroidery as represented by ponchos, belts, headdresses and other articles of dress distributed throughout the hall.

The gallery rail cases in this hall of the American Museum of Natural History contain pottery, copper, gold and silver objects of many types and of peculiar designs, quipus or knotted cords used to keep accounts, specimens of food and medicines, charms and implements. Grewsome evidence of the savage character of some of the existing tribes of the southern continent is given by the shrunken human heads in one of the cases. Adjoining is the

 

Go To Next Page

 

Back To Previous Page

 
Copyright © 2004 NewYorkCity.co