... Handmade Shoulder bags, Mochila Bags

pastel Wayuu mochila
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Wayuu Artisanas Mariangelica Ortiz & Carmen
Arhuaco Indian artisanas Ana Ilba Torres & Company

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Handmade Shoulder Bag/Mochila Bag 1
Handmade Shoulder Bag/Mochila Bag 2
Handmade Shoulder Bag/Mochila Bag 3
handmade shoulder bag, mochila bag 1
handmade shoulder bag, mochila bag 2
handmade shoulder bag, mochila bag 3
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The Weave
shoulder bag weave sidebar 1

Handmade Shoulder Bags
Mochila Bags Elaborada a Mano


These handmade shoulder bags are crafted by Zenú Indian artisans, natives of the Caribbean region of present-day Colombia, South America.

In Latin America, a shoulder bag is known as a mochila.  Hand woven from strong caña flecha (arrow cane) fiber, these mochilas are very durable, as well as attractive.  The strap, which is tucked inside the bag in this picture, has a woven exterior, and a fabric interior.  The bag is quite roomy, with dimensions of ten inches across the top, and a depth of ten and three-quarter inches; it has a round, flat bottom with a diameter of approximately five inches.  The top has a zippered closure.  The interior is lined with black fabric.

The caña flecha used to make this mochila bag/shoulder bag is grown, harvested and processed to make fiber strips that are used to weave a wide variety of apparel accessories.  This work is performed by Zenú Indian artisans on a reservation near the town of San Andrés de Sotavento in Córdoba State, Colombia, South America.  The processing methods implemented are traditional, handed down from generation to generation.  Dyes used to color the fiber strips are likewise traditional, made from plants using customary recipes. Indeed, weaving is central to contemporary Zenú culture.​  For a complete description of how Zenú Indian artisans process caña flecha for weaving purposes, see our blog post titled "Manufacturing and Tinting Caña Flecha Fiber Strips for Handmade Apparel Accessories."

Indeed, weaving is central to contemporary Zenú culture.  Applying knowledge to transform simple materials into useful things, as in weaving, expresses the Zenú concept of everything happening under the sun.  Indeed, the difference between materials, or components, and finished products is the knowledge of how to incorporate the former to obtain the latter.  Weaving illustrates the Zenú concept of how everything comes into being.  The Zenú often coded knowledge of various things in figures that are shown in the weave of their products, particularly the sombrero vueltiao.  Information about these figures, called pintas, is available in our gallery, and in our literature about the sombrero vueltiao.​
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