hese unique baskets originate from the Colombian Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest. They are made by the Cubeo and Nukak people who are part of the Maku tribe.
The Maku tribe is an indigenous group who scarcely have contact with the outside world and still live in ancestral ways. They are one of the last nomadic tribes in Colombia and their daily struggle is to maintain their culture, their way of life and their wish is to remain in their ancestral land.
The material that is used to make these baskets is called the Yaré liana. This is a plant that has roots reaching a length of up to 23 meters and attach themselves onto trunks of big trees. The roots hang long and thick and are therefore used for interweaving or to build structures. The material is very strong and is considered to be a raw material of high quality.
The baskets are traditionally used to carry cassava roots, which is perhaps their most important food. While the balay is the flat container in which the cassava cakes are placed.
The commercialisation of their products is important to the Maku tribe because apart from being valued, and recognized they are able to maintain their traditional knowledge of weaving and can so pass it on to the next generation.