Mural textile. Plain weave and brocade. Chimu, AD 900- 1470, 155 x 130 cm, MCHAP 0519

Textile fragment. Painting on plain weave fabric. Chavin, 900 – 700 BP, 50 x 47 cm, MCHAP 0359

Unku-tunic. Warp-faced weave and brocade. Chimu, AD 900 – 1470, 128 x 92 cm, MCHAP 1150.

The Textile Gallery, Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino`s permanent exhibition

Background for the exhibition

The Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino has been able to assemble an important collection of textiles of great esthetic and cultural value. Most of them are from the Andean desert coastal region, where the climate permits a surprising degree of preservation of fibers, colors and cloths. Nevertheless, time and the history of each piece have contributed to their present fragility and vulnerability.

Today, not all the textiles in the collection are on exhibit. Most remain in storage, where the pieces are placed in a horizontal position, wrapped in acid-free materials, and only illuminated for routine inspections and study purposes. The exhibition rooms, as well, have been equipped with the proper lighting conditions, in an attempt to reproduce the optimal situation found in the storage area.

To exhibit the Chimú costume, we designed a lighting system that permits us to show the pieces without causing irreparable damage, while facilitating the opportunity to appreciate their richness of forms, colors and textures in detail. A multidisciplinary team of physicists and designers, a museographer, archeologists and the museum’s own conservators, worked for years, each one contributing his specialized knowledge or talent to the project.