The Hall of South American Peoples features the art, tools, technologies, and traditions of the continent’s pre-Columbian cultures—the ancient Inca, Moche, Chavin, and Chancay—in addition to exhibits about the traditional cultures of modern Amazonia.
Works of exquisite craftsmanship abound in this hall. The importance of textile art among the ancient Andeans, a 5,000-year-old tradition that conveyed status and identity, is presented through examples of elaborate fabrics that demonstrate a wide range of techniques, designs, and materials. Along with exhibits on Andean mining and metallurgy, remarkable achievements in metalwork are highlighted through artifacts such as the Royal Llama of the Inca from Bolivia. Also on view are examples of spectacular Amazonian featherwork, including a headdress made from toucan and macaw feathers that once adorned a young man of the Rikbaktsa, an indigenous people of Brazil.
The hall also features an open-air model of a Sipán tomb excavation from the Moche civilization on Peru’s north coast, an important archaeological discovery that offered invaluable insight into the burial traditions of a high-ranking member of that ancient culture.