Wayuu Mochila Bags
The purpose of Belart is to perpetuate the ancient and beautiful traditions of the Wayuu artisan weavers that date back to before Christopher Columbus (1492), and to improve artisans’ lives by connecting them with socially-conscious consumers around the world.
Belart’s fair trade, Wayuu “mochila” bags are created by the Wayuu tribes in Colombia in a socially-responsible manner.
About the Wayuu People
The Wayuu natives are descendants from the Guyanese Arawak tribe, one of the few native tribes who successfully resisted the European domination dating back to Christopher Columbus. They are a nomadic tribe with a legendary history. Their ancestral traditions value craftsmanship and art and they expertly work with a variety of materials including cotton, virgin wools, animal hide and horn.
The Wayuu believe that in order to thank and honor the animals they consume, they must utilize all of its parts, including bone, hoof and horn. The jewelry pieces that we bring to you are made from upcycled, non-endangered bovine and water buffalo horn, discarded from animals that died from old age or were slaughtered for food consumption.
The Northern Guajira Deserts of Colombia
The Wayuu natives live in the Northern Guajira deserts of Colombia. This region is one of the most interesting and diverse in Colombia with its snow-covered peaks, vast deserts, oases and beautiful white beaches. It also boasts amazing cloud forests and immense salt mines and is home to unique flora and fauna.
The Legend of Women’s Weaving
According to legend, the spider Walekeru came to this remote region to teach the Wayuu native women the art of weaving. Each Wayuu mochila bag at Belart is one of a kind and each design and motif tells the story and lineage of the culture. The designs and stories are passed down over the generations from woman to woman. You will find many kinds of Wayuu mochila “look-a-likes,” but the authentic museum-quality Wayuu mochila bags are one-of-a-kind, woven in single thread/double crochet and 100% cotton. It takes 40-45 days to weave each authentic bag.
Wayuu mochila bags have won awards in Europe and Latin America and have become very famous in the world for their uniqueness and impeccable craftsmanship.