Estela Raimondi

Estela Raimondi
Estela Raimondi

La Estela Raimondi is one of the most important carved monoliths that has come down to us from the ancient Chavín culture. It is a large parallelepiped-shaped stone carved in low relief and represents some kind of god or mythological figure that seems to connect with the god Wiracocha of the Tiahuanaco culture.


Between 1200 and 300 B.C. developed in the northern part of the Andes mountain range, a great civilization that became the political and cultural center of the area for many years, the Chavín culture. According to documentary sources, the Chavín culture would be found at the origin of many of the pre-Hispanic cultures that populated the Andes until the arrival of the Spanish colonizers. The small town of Chavín de Huantar would be the cradle of some of the most outstanding artistic manifestations that have come down to us, most of them are representations of bas-reliefs inscribed on large monolithic stones such as the Raimondi Stela that concerns us here, or the also known Obelisk of Tello.

According to the archaeological studies carried out, pit seems that the Raimondi Stela was originally located on the outskirts of a great temple,on the elevated terrace of a great mountain. The piece was discovered in the mid-19th century by a local farmer who, due to the beauty of its reliefs, kept the piece for himself, using it astable in his own home until the Peruvian government requisitioned the piece in the 1970s and transferred it to the Archeology Museum of Peru thanks to the initiative of the Italian traveler Antonio Raimondi, from whom the work took its name.

We find ourselves before a stele almost two meters high, more than seven meters wide and one and a half meters deep, which is decorated with complicated reliefs carved into the stone. In the lower center area we find the figure of the god to whom the stela has been dedicated and who is known as holding a staff with each of his hands. In reality, we find ourselves before an anthropomorphic figure whose face seems to be that of a dragon with large fangs, a human body and claw-like claws. In reality, the part dedicated to the presence of the god would only be a little more than a third of the total height of the stela, the rest is completed by the very long and convoluted hair of the god that curls in numerous loops and where we find snakes or even jaguar heads. From the belt that he wears knotted around his waist there are also pairs of snakes that look to each side in search of the large canes carved with complicated geometric shapes that the god holds on each of his sides.

Although it is true that this type of work from the Chavina culture generally shows, a complicated iconography, its forms are often repeated, becoming a very representative and easy-to-identify set of pieces.

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