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Arhuaca Backpack (English Blog)

Mochila Arhuaca: Authentic Colombian Handmade Bags full of Culture and Tradition


Arhuaca backpacks are handmade by a careful, ancestral process that involves the transformation and usage of resources found in nature like sheep’s wool, and (in some rare cases) cotton. In a technique that has helped the natives in their daily life, from carrying utensils and food to transporting vital liquids like water, thanks to the tight fabric.

Arhuaca Bags or Tutu Iku in ‘Ika’ (the native language), are possible thanks to the Arhuacos, one of the (four) indigenous groups that come from the monumental Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta -at the north of Colombia- and have lived in there for centuries.

The handicraft is made by women in a work that symbolizes fertility, femininity, and the beginning of life and the world derived from the womb of the mother universe. This is reflected in the way the backpack is shaped up from a spiral that represents the creation of the earth from a center point.

That is why females or “Gwati” are the ones that knit the backpacks but are also, at the same time, life enablers. When the girl begins her ovular cycle, she starts to weave her first ‘mochila’, a process that can take several weeks, after she finishes it, the garment is taken to the “Mamu” to be used in different rituals of initiation that introduces her to community life.

Backpacks are later given to the men in their families in artworks that represent close people, society individuals, animals, natural phenomena, bloodline, location, and much more, spiritual, deep thoughts.

The Mochilas Arhuacas are beautiful and versatile, perfect for a gift, high in quality and duration, fit for men and women. You won’t find two of the same since each backpack is 100% handmade to represent culture and tradition by creativity.

By acquiring an Arhuaca Backpack, you are Directly supporting the Arhuaco indigenous community.

In Crafts Colombia, you can select from a wide catalog of original bags, safely purchase and easily receive the handicraft at a fair price. We have lengthy experience connecting tenths of national artisans, with customers inside and outside Colombia.

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