Desert Hats – 2006




This exhibit offered a new perspective on headwear and included more than one hundred pieces, most of them from the Museum’s own collection, the rest from other museums in northern Chile and from private collections. As noted in the display, these ancient head coverings were well preserved because of the exceptionally arid conditions of the desert, which drastically reduces the decomposition of organic material. The exhibit included turbans, head bands, helmets, hoods and diadems made by the region’s indigenous inhabitants from perishable materials such as yarn, straw, wood, cotton, leather and feathers. These headpieces were from many different historical periods, ranging from the hunters of the late Archaic period to the height of Inka imperial times. The exhibit focused on head wear as an expression of the wearer’s identity, but also alluded to topics such as war, functional relationships with the environment and linkages to pre-Hispanic states that exerted influence over the desert peoples.