Handicrafts in any part of the world are a cultural expression that get more people interested day after day, especially people who appreciate manual and personalized work instead of mass-produced merchandise that in one way or the other has become the support of a consumer and individualistic society.
When foreign tourists arrive in Bolivia, they can find a variety of crafted items at a fair price. These include decorative articles, clothing accessories, clothes and more, crafted by artisan associations generally composed of entire families who generate an income from developing this art. This is how thousands of Bolivian family groups support their day-to-day living expenses with handcrafted work.
Bolivian Handicrafts have a rich expression thanks to the variety of cultures existing in this country. In the high plateau (Altiplano) music is melancholy, as if it spoke of sadness but with a huge traditional burden. In the valleys and the eastern part of the country, rhythms are joyful and expressive. Likewise, these characteristics can be appreciated in the people: Andean people are less expressive than people from eastern Bolivia, even though they also carry the undeniable cultural burden of every Bolivian: the traditional richness still lives, regardless of the passage of time and the foreign influences to which it is exposed.
While the valley regions and the eastern part of the country are characterized by a warm climate, cold is a companion that will always be present in the Altiplano region. This is why clothing style and the textiles used to make clothes in this part of the country are recognized to ward off low temperatures; one of the most widely known garments for this purpose is the poncho. With a pre colonial origin, it appeared with the name of “unku” which is a piece of fabric with an opening in the middle for the head; the result is a warm sensation of comfort because it covers most of the body, depending on the design.
Another widely used product for making handcrafted merchandise is the aguayo, a typical Andean textile of pre-Columbian origin and a huge cultural influence. Every one of these textiles has a story to tell: weaving of the yarn, colors, thread and figures in it are characters and life experiences of the communities and/or the artisans themselves.
It is fulfilling to see how Bolivian artisans work hard to offer very high quality products to the market, renovating designs, using their imagination to create new items and everything to provide neatly worked pieces for tourists who appreciate this work, while charging a fair price.
So, when you visit Bolivia, try to visit all nine departments, each of which is different; take what is best from this land, not just in souvenirs; become a passionate supporter of this large and rich culture.
For more information about Bolivian handicrafts, we invite you to visit www.caserita.com