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Artisanship in Colombia

A centuries-long tradition

Colombia showcases a diverse artisanship tradition which reflects the indigenous Indian, Spanish and African origin of its people.

The origin of most of Colombian artisanal products can be traced back to the pre-Columbian era when Colombia was inhabited by the indigenous population of the Chibcha.

The Chibchas are mostly famous for their superb gold work but they were also specialised in the production of fique baskets, ceramic, textiles made with cotton and fique and wood work.

Some of the Chibchas’ artisanal traditions such as the manufacture of ceramics products were enriched with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores and the Africans that were brought to Colombia as slaves as the three cultures mixed and exchanged their respective knowledge and traditions.

At the same time the conquest of Colombia caused the loss of some of the Chibchas’ traditional knowledge such as the manufacture of golden objects as most of the gold was brought to Spain.

Nowadays, around 22 crafts activities and 50 artisanal techniques exist in Colombia such as: basket, weave, pottery, ceramics, leather goods, woodworking, garrison, binding, structured volumes, carpentry, cabinet, lutheria, work in glass, stonework, goldsmith, silverware, jewelry, work on nuts, work on seeds and beads, cerería and jabonería. Different Colombian regions are specialised in different types of artisanal products and materials. For example, members of the Wayuu tribe are
specialised in crocheting mochila bags, the town of Raquira is specialised in ceramics and the region of Cundinamarca is famous for woolen ruanas.
Today, Colombia is slowly healing from a civil war that has ravaged the country for decades. This conflict has resulted in some 2 to 3 million displaced people, the highest in the western hemisphere, and the second highest in the world after Sudan. In this context, opportunities for artisans to earn an income through fair trade are significant and valuable. Furthermore, Colombian artisanal products
contribute to keep alive the traditions of a large number of indigenous communities.
In Bochica we showcase products made from the fique plant and the werregue palm as well as Wayuu mochila bags and cotton textiles made in central Colombia.

Where our artisans live?