The women of Wayuu Aboriginal communities are dedicated to supporting their families, while promoting their ancestral culture. One of the ways in which they do this is by offering Wayuu mochilas, shoulder bags, which they weave by hand in the traditional way passed down through generations. Into each mochila is woven traditional Wayuu symbols, geometric figures, which graphically record their ancestral knowledge of the sun, the stars, the seashore, and many other things in nature.
Wayuu Women Support Their Families and Their Culture
Wayuu Mochilas in Three Color Schemes
Wayuu mochilas are crocheted by hand, exclusively by Aborgine women, Wayuu Indian artisans. They are made in three distinct color schemes, including “vivo,” bright, living colors that reflect the sun and the beach; “tierra,” which reflects the earthy colors of their native land, present-day La Guajira, Colombia; and “pastel,” which is softer than the vivo color scheme; pastels are similar to the hues of a rainbow.
Each Wayuu mochila bears the genuine style of Aboriginal women and community, which embody the symbolic woven figures that commemorate their ancestral language, mother earth, the sun, the womb of women and the family. Mixtures of earthy colors and vivid symbols highlight their attachment to the traditions of their ancestors.
Especially complex, highly detailed ancient geometrical symbols are woven into the fabric of some Wayuu mochilas, which distinguish them as particularly valuable, collector’s items.
Every day, Wayuu women encourage the youth to follow in the traditional way of their culture, preserving Wayuu ancestral creativity and history in the fabric of their mochilas, which they create using pure cotton yarn, natural dyes and a crochet technique that was perfected with the help of Catholic missionaries around the beginning of the twentieth century.
Wayuu Aborigine culture is preserved in the handcrafting of Wayuu mochilas, and other products, such as their bracelets. Through hard work and perseverance, Wayuu women weave practical products, genuine works of art, some requiring three months to complete, others only one month, depending on the complexity of each piece.