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Arts among natives in Argentina pre-colonial

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Argentina > Pre-Hispanic art in Argentina
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Fine Arts History - Pre-Hispanic Period

The most outstanding cultures in this period are those of the North-west, regarded as the ones which reached the highest degree of development before the Spaniards' arrival. They engaged in agriculture and pottery, basing their economy on agriculture and knowing the techniques for the working of metals, ceramics and textiles. Settled mainly in the valleys of Catamarca and Salta, they had a sedentary life and gathered in groups keeping a considerable amount of population and a more complex organization than the peoples of Patagonia and the Littoral. In turn, this period divides into: Early and Middle Periods (before 900 AD), and Late (900-1480 AD) Period.

Cultures worth mentioning are those of La Ciénaga; Condorhuasi, in the western Salta; La Aguada (Middle Period), comprising Catamarca, southern Salta and northern La Rioja up to northern San Juan: Belén and Santa María (1000 AD) are located in the valleys of western Catamarca and in those of Yacavil and Calchaqui, respectively. Pottery decorated with geometrical figures, real or fantastic images; effigy-vessels representing human beings or animals; polychrome urns or big metal discs ornamented with schematic figures enclosed by contour lines constitute the production of these cultures which are currently within the assets of the Archeology Division of La Plata Museum. Natives cultures also left evidence in caves and mountain shelters: the Argentine provinces offering samples of rupestrian art are Salta, San Luis, Tucumán, Jujuy, Córdoba and those which compound Patagonia.


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