Chavin ulture


The Chavín culture is part of the formation of the history of Peru and is considered one of the first Peruvian Andean cultures . His contributions in the construction of cities and irrigation canals, allowed him to develop agriculture and livestock. The Chavines were a theocratic people whose gods were jungle animals such as the jaguar, the anaconda and the caiman. The Chavines also built religious monuments made of stone such as obelisks, bald heads, and stelae. They also worked metals and ceramics creating handicrafts for their own use and for ceremonies with particular characteristics of their culture.


What is chavin culture?

The Chavín culture is a town that developed in the Peruvian Andes on the eastern side of the Cordillera Blanca 2 km from the confluence of the Huacheksa and Mosna rivers, in the upper basin of the Marañón River. The origin and evolution of the Chavín culture is calculated between 1500 and 200 BC Its extension covered a large part of the Andean region of Peru, including the current departments of Lambayeque, Cajamarca, Ica and Ayacucho.


Characteristics of the Chavín culture

Among the most representative characteristics of the Chavín culture, the following can be mentioned:

  • His government was theocratic and his society was class .
  • They developed ceramics with zoomorphic and anthropomorphic reliefs .
  • They are part of the historical origin of Peru known as the First Cultural Horizon .
  • His sculptures were made of stone and had religious purposes. They built monoliths, obelisks, and bald heads.
  • His religion was polytheistic . They adored jungle animals such as the jaguar, the alligator, the anaconda, the condor, and the hawk.
  • They developed agriculture and livestock for their food.

Who discovered the Chavin culture?

The Chavín culture was discovered by the prominent Peruvian doctor and anthropologist Julio César Tello in 1919 .

Chavin culture history

The Chavín culture had its birth in 1,500 BC in the Chavín de Huántar temple , located in the department of Ancash 300 km north of the Peruvian capital, Lima. It is believed that its inhabitants came from jungle regions because they use a lot of iconography with figures of jungle animals such as the Jaguar, the alligator and the anaconda.

According to the historian Julio César Tello, the Chavín culture is the mother of the Andean civilizations of Peru and is located in a formative stage of Peruvian history known as the First Cultural Horizon .

The Chavines controlled the trade routes from the west through the Cordillera Blanca towards the Pacific and from the east towards the Amazon area through the Mosna River.

They worshiped the Chavín Jaguar and built U-shaped temples to worship him.

The last vestiges of the Chavín culture date back to 200 BC


The Chavín culture was located in the Callejón de Conchucos in the eastern part of the Cordillera Blanca, at the junction between the Mosna and Huachecsa rivers, in the current district of Chavín de Huántar, in the Ancash region at a height of 3,177 m.

Political and social organization

The Chavín people were theocratic and polytheistic , with three well-defined social classes : the Priests, the warrior nobility and the people.

The priests were those who had certain knowledge of astronomy and climate. In addition, they handled certain techniques to work agriculture and livestock, as well as the arts and construction.

The warrior nobility was the army, in charge of preventing invasions and disturbances in the Chavín towns to guarantee the development of this town.

The other class was the people , that is, the popular mass made up of farmers and ranchers who served the priestly class and who had to pay tribute to the gods.

Chavín culture art

Among the artistic manifestations of the Chavín culture, sculpture and ceramics have an important place.

His ceramic works were very elaborate and it had two uses, one was common and the other was for religious practices.

Chavín ceramics were monochrome and sometimes carried the colors red and black. It was also decorated with dots and figures of animals, tubers or human figures.

The sculpture for the Chavín culture was characterized by having low reliefs on lintels or porcelain of animals and human faces. The stone was worked and its themes were religious. The best known sculptures of the Chavin people are the monoliths, the stelae and the bald heads. Among them we can mention the Monolithic Lanzón, the Raimondi Stela and the Tello Obelisk.

Agriculture and livestock of the Chavín culture

The Chavín culture developed its agriculture and livestock through the cultivation of tubers, legumes, condiments, grains and vegetables . Among the most representative, we can mention the different varieties of potato, corn and quinoa.

In Chavín livestock, llamas and alpacas were the most important animals in addition to the raising of guinea pigs. These animals allowed them to develop skills in the textile field and to make fabrics to withstand the cold weather in their territory.


The Chavín culture was polytheistic because it worshiped many deities in the shape of animals . Among the gods they possessed, the main one was a large serpent with long fangs. They also had other gods such as the cat god, the jaguar, the alligator, the anaconda, the condor, and the falcon.

Its main sacred site was Chavín de Huántar. There were performed rites led by the caste of priests, who had a sacred dress and music accompanied their rites.

The chavines built some U-shaped tempos to worship their god the Jaguar.

In their rites , hallucinogenic substances such as San Pedro cactus and anadenanthera seeds were used. These substances allowed the priests to enter a trance and speak with their gods, as well as to dilate their pupils to see better in the darkness of the temple.

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