The Mochilas Tutu

The traditional arhuaca mochila (satchel in Spanish) originates from the imitation of the oriole bird’s nest. This bird has the particularity of constructing nests that hang from the top of trees. This distinctive feature, that is present in the arhuaca legends, has made the mochila one of the most distinctive and symbolic objects of this culture.

This true work of art has its place in the everyday life of the Arhuacos, it is used to contain Poporo ¹, dried Coca leaves and materials used by the Mamos for their spiritual medicine practices.

It represents, among other things, the symbol for Mother Earth, the feminine energy that cares for life in its entirety. For the Mamos, the mochila is the recipient of all the experiences acquired on the path to awakening and wisdom, thus a faithful companion.

In its most traditional form, the mochila is woven with the wool of sheeps living on the high plateau of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, an exceptionally high quality wool.

It can also be crafted using different types of cotton and in a variety of colors, symbolizing the energy of the rainbow.

¹ Poporo is a calabash given to the young boy during the rite of passage towards adulthood. It has several different roles, one of which being the « writing » of one’s thoughts. The arhuaco man uses the poporo to accompany his daily work on his thought process and development, in particular during the chewing of the coca leaves.

Traditionally, the arhuaca mochila is designed and woven by women and their daughters (taught from the age of 6).

Once the raw materials have been collected, washed and dried, they are entirely spun, tied and coiled around a skein. The satchel can now be knitted with a needle. It is created using a special spiral stitch technique forming different symbols. The work is completed with a phase of washing and stretching which gives the mochila its final appearance, at the end of an exclusively handmade labour which lasts a minimum of one month.

This work is done in full awareness by the arhuaca women for which it is a meditative practice, and each one of their creations is filled with a particular intention and energy.

Each mochila is therefore unique and the different patterns represent the profound values of the Arhuacos, their understanding of the universe, their legends and stories.

The mochila Tutu is an art object recognized throughout the world for its great quality.

To Buy a Mochila