Roberto Pineda Camacho
Departamento de Antropología
Universidad de los Andes
Universidad Nacional de Colombia


Professor Gerardo Reichel Dolmatoff dedicated great deal of his extensive work to thestudy of shamanism. This essay explores the evolution of his thought on this themewithin the framework of a general theory of shamanism. His contribution to the ethnographyof shamanism in the Amazon and the interpretation of the iconography of Colombiangold and silver work stand out. It argues that Reichel opened up new perspectives for theinterpretation of shamanism, as a fundamental axis of the development of Colombia’scomplex societies and as a model that allows regulating society’s relations with its environment.

Keywords: Shamanism, gold or silver work, complex societies, Colombian ethnology,Tucanos, tropical rainforest.