Land of winds. Digital magazine on Andean music. Header picture
Andean traditions Andean music
    Land of winds > Traditions > Clothing | Issue 16 (Sep.-Oct. 2013)
    By Edgardo Civallero | Sara Plaza

Carrieles and peinillas

Carrieles and peinillas

The carriel (or guarniel) is a men's accessory item very popular in the paisas' land (department of Antioquia, Colombia), the most famous being those made in the villages of Jericó (where it would originally come from), Envigado and Amalfi.

It is a small fur flap calf leather satchel (though it the old times it was commonly made of otter or margay skin). The flap is adorned with a black patent-leather strip with embroideries in green, red and yellow (the Jerico's flag colours). The handbag has five compartments and twelve inner pockets (four of them "secret", hidden pockets) and a wide patent-leather shoulder strap with green adornments. The finest ones are embellished with elaborate embroideries and metal ornaments.

According to the legend the bag would have been brought to Antioquia during the colonial period by Englishmen with a management position in the mining industry. It was made of leather and called a "carry all". Another story goes that it is a copy of the bags used by Spanish conquistadores; that it was originally round but its shape was changed to make it more comfortable; that the fur flap draws inspiration from indigenous models, and so on.

The oldest bags usually had two or three inner pockets, but over time this number increased to twenty. The items that their owners put inside the satchel were the things they needed in everyday life, therefore the contents varied according to each person's profession. It is said that cattle drivers, due to their semi-nomadic life, were perhaps those who carried the largest number of items in their bags: up to fifty, according to a popular saying. However, there were a few items that would be found in almost every paisa's satchel. The list includes money, personal documentation, a peinilla (comb), a barbera (shaving equipment), a candle, a deck of cards and dice, letters and a lock of his wife's (and/or lover's) hair, a piece of string, needle and thread, a clasp knife, several good-luck charms, tobacco, fire kit, a notebook and a pen, and a holy card.

Used since colonial days, the carriel has remained associated with cattle drivers and somehow, to the agricultural Antioquia of old days. Today its use has declined sharply in rural areas, though in recent years has become a symbol of cultural identity for paisa people.

Carriel, in Wikipedia.
Article. "Decálogo del paisa según el carriel", by Bayron Álvarez. In El Mundo [es].
Article. "El carriel", by Catalina Gómez Ángel. In Semana [es].
Article. "La magia del carriel paisa", in Del Carmen Decor [es].

Picture 01. Carriel 01.
Picture 02. Carriel 02.
Picture 03. Carriel 03.
Picture 04. Carriel 04.

Picture A.

> Top    |    > Traditions    |    > Cover    |    > En español

Disclaimer of Land of windsEditorial staff of Land of winds