|A portrait of a Wayuu putchipu'u and goats, a common desert livestock.|
|Wayuu in traditional dress.|
|Symbolic gifts of bead collars are often used to make peace.|
The exhibition also touches on other, sometimes contradictory aspects of Wayuu culture. For example, theirs is a matrilineal society, in which relations are traced thru the uterus (that's the real terminology). However, in Wayuu tradition young men are also expected to pay a bride price, usually in livestock, to the woman's family before marriage. Many women interpret this as being purchased.
Yet, from what I've seen of Wayuu culture it is the women who seem to dominate.
The Wayuu are one of the indigenous peoples who have prospered most in western society, sometimes becoming wealthy traders (and smugglers), but have also preserved many of their traditions.
If the ongoing peace negotiations between the Colombian government and leftist guerrilla groups derail, they could do worse than call in a putchipu'u to put things back on track.
|Traditional Wayuu bags, and a desert scene.|
|An intricately carved bird on a walking stick representing authority.|
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours