Ear ring pendants Gold 600 A.D. - 1700 A.D. Consacá, Nariño 11,6 cm 11,5 cm

Nariño: People and Gold of the Nariño High Plains

Between 400 and 1600 A.D., societies that lived as farmers, shepherds and merchants used to inhabit the cold, high Andean plains and the valleys of Nariño and northern Ecuador.

Two different types of funeral regalia have been found in what are the deepest tombs in America, depicting magnificent emblems of power, and this suggests that two groups of ruling classes existed side by side. In fact, many Andean societies boasted a dual social and thought structure, which they symbolised using complementary opposites in nature and the cosmos: male and female, sun and moon, above and below, night and day, heat and cold.

At the time of the Conquest, around 1550, central and northern Nariño was inhabited by the Quillacingas - 'moon nose' -, who lived on the mountain slopes and in flat places. They made offerings by placing oval-shaped sheets over the skulls of some of their dead. In the south were the Pastos, who lived in densely-populated settlements on the mountain peaks. Their pottery depicts fishing, hunting and pastoral scenes, and their descendents still retain some of their customs and traditions today. 

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Nariño and the Gold Museum exhibition


The Pastos


Who were the Mindalas?

Rotating discs

Music and ritual in Nariño and Carchi