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Basketry is a textile work by which talented Colombian artisans manufacture flower vases, baskets, jugs, cradles, fruit bowls, bags, and hats with dexterity and delicacy.
This artisan technique is the result of a tradition passed down for generations. It was born from the nomads’ need of containers for food conservation and storage. Women were always in charge of gathering, while men were hunters. Thus, basket making has always been associated with the feminine gender.
Basketry may be considered a technique that transforms nature into material culture.
Basket production became an efficient means in the everyday life of these individuals.
The baskets and other utensils manufactured by peasant women from the hemp of the maguey cactus in Guacamayas, in the department of Boyacá, are part of the large menu of Colombian handicrafts. At present, this activity is carried out by about 400 women artisans for whom it is a source of income, as well as a source of satisfaction for their creative contribution.
The Waunana Indians of the rainforest of the Colombian Pacific coast also do basketry work. Their technique involves the use of shoots of the güérregue palm tree. The white fiber obtained from the shoots is combined with other fibers that are dyed with vegetable dyes like achiote, to produce reddish hues; and the juice of the jaguar fruit, to produce black.
Werregue handicrafts are unique in Colombia and in all America. Their mostly likely origin is African.