Kamëntsá Choker made in the Colombian Amazon. The Kamëntsá represent their most fundamental symbols of belief in their beaded jewelry called Chaquira
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Kamëntsá choker made in the Colombian Amazon. The Kamëntsá represent their most fundamental symbols of belief in their beaded jewelry called Chaquira. The Kamëntsá represent their most fundamental symbols of belief in their beaded jewelry called Chaquira
On my latest travel to Brazil, I met a young Brazilian man called Rafael. We spend some time together talking and we also shared some rapé. He explained he was just visiting brazil and was soon going back to Colombia. There he lives together with the people of the Kamëntsá tribe and is about to marry a tribe member. Living together with the Kamëntsá people Rafael studies various aspects of their cultural heritage. Through this friend, I established direct contact with the master bead artists from this tribe.
Territory and Population
The Kamëntsá are deeply spiritual people. They still inhabit their ancestral territory, the Alto Putumayo in the Sibundoy Valley in Colombia. It runs along the western fringe of the Colombian Amazon. These days only 7000 members of the Kamensta tribe still exist.
History & Violence
From the moment the Conquistadors arrived in the 16th century they first had to fight off disease and violence. After this period came a time constant religious missions and forced interventions. This lasted centuries and the violence and instability continued throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.
Culture & Traditions
The Kamëntsá people hold adamantly to their traditions. A part of that tradition is the carved wooden masks that The Kamëntsá people wear during ceremonies and festivals. They farm maize, beans, potatoes, and peas. The Kamëntsá shamans are noted for the cultivation of various types of entheogenic plants in their sacred gardens.
Shamanism and Shamanic Visions are a deep part of their beliefs and resulting symbolism. The Kamëntsá people preserve their shamanic heritage through their celebrations, music, dances, traditional medicine, and artisan work. The shamans in Colombia are called Taita’s. They use various entheogens, including ayahuasca (yagé), Brugmansia species, and species from the nightshade family in their rituals.
The Taita’s project the visionary interpretations of their experiences into symbolism that represents the tribe’s unity with the natural world and to their spiritual Worldviews. Above all else, respect for the “Pachamama,” or Mother-Earth, and all of her gifts, is of fundamental importance to the Kamëntsá.
Are you interested in bead-art from other South American countries please have a look at the pages, Brazil, Guatemala and Mexico.