Permanent Exhibitions

Native peoples and colonial times | Room 1


foto de emisiones sobre Pueblos originarios y etapa colonial

This is an exhibition of pre-Columbian cultures, in which an economy oriented towards human need satisfaction prevailed together with a tight bond with Mother Earth, necessary for survival.

“Bartering among indigenous people” is recalled, highlighting the Aztec and Incan cultures as the two American civilizations, which based their economy mainly on direct exchange of goods such as cocoa seeds, corn grains, coca leaves, small bladeless copper axes, etc.

Moreover, “Spanish colonial coins” are shown, such as “Macuquinas”, “Columnarias” and “De Busto”.


“Macuquinas” XVI – XVIII centuries

The first coins that disseminated in the viceroyalties of Peru and Rio de la Plata were minted by the Mint House of Potosi, which was founded in 1573 and located at Villa Imperial near Cerro Rico. The first mint works were primitive and gave origin to irregular edged coins called “macuquinas”.

“Columnarias” (1767 – 1770)

In the mid eighteenth century, the Mint House of Potosi started using a modern machine called “mill” (in Spanish, “balancín”), which allowed for important changes in colonial currency. This machine produced the first perfectly round coins called “ribbed or patterned with ridges” (in Spanish, “de cordoncillo”) considering its perimetral-ribbed design.

“De Busto” (1773 – 1825)

This type of coins were made as from 1732, under the reign of Philip V of Spain. They showed the monarch’s profile wearing a big wig of those times. For that reason, they were informally known as “big wigs” (in Spanish, “peluconas”).