Kanaas: symbology of the traditional Wayuu patterns

Traditionally, Wayuu bags were crocheted with various symbols called Kanaas - symbolical drawings native to the Wayuu culture. Much like most of the indigenous tribes we have seen elsewhere in the world, these symbols represent objects they encounter in their day-to-day life. 

An interesting story to note: it is said the Wayuu learned to weave thanks to a mythical spider called Walekeru. This spider would create magical pieces using thread from her mouth. She is the one that taught all Wayuu women to crochet, crocheting hammocks to sleep in, belts for men, shoes, bracelets and Wayuu bags of all different sizes and crochet method to be used for different purposes. 

Nowdays the patterns on your Wayuu bags have evolved to include geometric lines and even drawings of animals. Now let's take a look back at the original patterns of these beautiful Wayuu bags and see if you recognise any of these!

編織在Wayuu袋上的各種圖案,傳統上統稱為「Kanaas」- 一種屬於Wayuu特有及極具代表性的文化。其實世界各地的土著少數民族都有一個共通點,他們會以這些圖案,描述他們的日常生活及所見所聞。

讓我們跟你分享一個關於「Wayuu袋」的有趣故事:傳說有一隻叫「Walekeru」的神秘蜘蛛,是教嘵所有Wayuu婦女匠人去編織的師袓。

聽說她會利用吐出的蜘蛛絲,編織出一件又一件充滿魔法的作品。她會教導Wayuu婦女鉤針的手藝,從編織吊床、男裝腰帶、到不同尺碼的Wayuu袋,她們都能得心應手,甚至在鉤針編織應用在生活上的每一個部分。

現代的Wayuu袋圖案,已經隨時代進化成幾何線條,甚至乎動物圖案。以下是最原始的Wayuu袋花紋及圖案,看你能認出幾多個?

Rabbit's teeth 兔仔牙齒:

Cow's nose 牛耳朵:

A fly's head 蒼蠅頭部:

Eyes of a fish 魚眼睛:

Footprints left by a horse 馬留下的足印:

The shell of a Morrocoy turtle 莫羅科伊龜的外殼:

The vagina of a donkey 驢的陰道: