Tangible or Intangible
Intantigle | Inmaterial | Imaterial
Image | Imagen | Imagem
Image credits | Créditos de imagen | Créditos de imagem
Consejo Nacional de la Cultura y las Artes, 2013
Title, name | Titulo, nombre | Título, nome
Baile Chino
Short description | Descripción corta | Descrição resumida
Bailes Chinos are brotherhoods of musicians who express their faith through music, dance and singing in the context of commemoration festivities. The practice stretches mainly from the area known as the Norte Chico to the central region of Chile and comprises five fully differentiated styles, each named after the valley or basin where it is most prevalent. Organized mainly by men from rural areas, Baile Chino dances consist of jumps and flexing movements of the legs, performed to the rhythm of isometric instrumental music played on drums and flutes of pre-Columbian origin. The leader sings memorized or improvised rhyming couplets in stanzas that recount holy stories and address religious subjects. He is accompanied by an equal number of musicians and dancers organized in two symmetric columns. A drummer leads the choreography and controls the tempo of the music. Each group also has a flag bearer and guards, who are usually women. The music, dances and couplets are learnt through direct observation, imitation and transmission in the family. Bailes Chinos are a tool for social participation providing prestige to those involved. They function as a model for social integration and cohesion to which almost the entire local community subscribes, out of a sense of identity and solidarity.
Los bailes chinos son hermandades de músicos que expresan su fe por intermedio de la música, la danza y el canto, con motivo de la celebración de fiestas conmemorativas. Esta expresión cultural, que se practica esencialmente desde la región del Norte Chico hasta la zona central de Chile, tiene cinco estilos plenamente diferenciados y cada uno de ellos lleva el nombre del valle o de la cuenca en la que predomina. Organizados principalmente por hombres de las zonas rurales, los bailes chinos se caracterizan por la ejecución saltos y flexiones de piernas al ritmo de una música instrumental isométrica interpretada con percusiones y flautas de origen precolombino. El abanderado del baile canta coplas de tema religioso, memorizadas o improvisadas, cuyas estrofas narran relatos piadosos, y le acompañan dos filas simétricas de músicos y bailarines, a partes iguales. Un tamborilero dirige la coreografía de las danzas y marca también el compás de la música. Cada grupo cuenta con un abanderado y acompañantes, que suelen ser mujeres. La música, las danzas y las coplas se aprenden mediante observación directa, imitación y transmisión en el seno de las familias. Los bailes chinos son instrumento de participación en la vida social, que prestigian a los que participan en ellos. Constituyen modelos de integración y cohesión sociales que cuentan con la adhesión de casi totalidad de las comunidades locales y, además, confieren un sentimiento de identidad y solidaridad a quienes los practican.
Community or culture | Comunidad o cultura | Comunidade ou cultura
Hermanación de “Bailes Chinos”
Practitioners, Autor | Practicantes, Autores | Praticantes, Autores
“Bailes Chinos” are brotherhoods of dancing musicians
Museum | Museo | Museu
Place | Local | Local
Atacama (Copiapó and Huasco); Andacollo (Elqui and Limarí); Choapa (Combarbalá and Quilimarí); Petorca (Longotoma, Petorca, La Ligua); Aconcagua (Aconcagua, Limache Basin)
Country | País
Language | Idioma


Video | Vídeo
Video credits | Créditos de vídeo | Créditos vídeo
Director and productor: Rafael Contreras Muhlenbrok and Daniel González Hernández; Consejo Nacional de la Cultura y las Artes, 2013; Universidade de Chile;
Audio Credits | Créditos de Audio
3D object | Objeto 3D
3D Credits | Créditos 3D
Text | Texto
Text credits | Créditos del texto | Créditos do texto
Record date | Fecha de registro | Data do registo
Image 1 | Imagen 1 | Imagem 1
Image 1 credits | Créditos imagen 1 | Créditos da imagem 1
Consejo Nacional de la Cultura y las Artes, 2013
Image 2 | Imagen 2 | Imagem 2
Image 2 credits | Créditos imagen 2 | Créditos da imagem 2
Consejo Nacional de la Cultura y las Artes, 2013
Image 3 | Imagen 3 | Imagem 3
Image 3 credits | | Créditos da imagem 3Créditos imagen 3
Image 4 | Imagen 4 | Imagem 4
Image 4 credits | Créditos imagen 4 | Créditos da imagem 4


Origin, history | Origen, historia | Origem, história
The practice of “Bailes Chinos” stretches mainly from what is known as the Norte Chico to the Central Region of Chile. This element is made up of five fully differentiated musical, choreographic–dance, and singing styles. Each style corresponds to an ecological niche that is determined by hydrographic basins and mountain chains. Local populations maintain close ties and communication channels that allow the existence of a shared style and practice of “Baile Chino” (for example, the devotional nature, the types of musical instruments, their role in the festivity, among others), which are expressed as a network of ceremonial processes. Each style is named after the valley or basin where it is most relevant.
Styles from north to south:
a) Atacama (Copiapó and Huasco);
b) Andacollo (Elqui and Limarí);
c) Choapa (Combarbalá and Quilimarí)
d) Petorca (Longotoma, Petorca, La Ligua)
e) Aconcagua (Aconcagua, Limache Basin)
“Bailes Chinos” are brotherhoods related to the practice of worshiping religious images during popular Catholic celebrations, which take place in the context of commemoration festivities. The first “Baile Chino” emerged in Andacollo in 1585, and has continued ever since.
A “Baile Chino” is usually a self–organised rural expression that represents the religious devotion of a community in a participatory and open manner. It is expressed through collective dances consisting of jumps and flexing movements of the legs, to the rhythm of isometric instrumental music that is played with drums and flutes of pre–Columbian origin. Additionally, through the singing of memorised or improvised “coplas” (rhyming couplets) –which vary according to each area– participants tell holy stories and address religious and faith issues. The music, the dance choreographies, and the art of singing the “coplas,” have been conveyed from generation to generation up to the present, keeping the spirit of each “Baile Chino” alive.
Precisely, these aspects and some elements of internal organisation are what communities themselves have considered as suitable for safeguarding. Particularly, if it is taken into account that “Bailes Chinos” are a form of representative and self–organised popular religiosity of the communities, which recognise in this practice an expression of devotion and religious fervour that are unique and inherent to local history and memory.

Associated heritage | Patrimonio asociado | Património associado
Cross reference | Referencias cruzadas | Referências cruzadas
Present condition | Condición actual | Estado actual
Threats | Amenazas | Ameaças
Safeguard | Salguardia | Salvaguarda
Bibliography | Bibliografía | Bibliografia


Type of object | Tipo de objeto | Tipo de objecto
Domain | Dominio | Domínio
Please select
Category | Categorías | Categoria
Please select | Seleccionar
Materials & techniques | Materiales y técnicas | Materiais & Tecnicas
Measurements | Medidas
Aditional info | Información adicional | Informação adicional


Domain | Dominio | Dominío
Oral traditions and expressions | Tradicones y expressiones orales | Tradições e expressões orais
Category | Categoria
Social organization | Organización social | Organização social, Musical and Correlated Manifestations | Manifestaciones musicales y correlacionadas | Manifestações musicais e correlacionadas, Theatrical and Performative Manifestations | Manifestaciones teatrales y performativas | Manifestações teatrais e performativas
Periodicity | Periodicidad | Periodicidade
Transmission | Trasmisión | Transmissão