Paisa Carriel History

Genuine paisa carriel made by crafstmen from Jerico, Antioquia.


The carriel is a type of leather purse or wallet for men in the Colombian Paisa region since colonial times . It is a distinctive garment of the Antioquian gentlemen , totally exclusive of the paisas regions (something like the Mexican hat is for Mexico or the gaúchos knives are in the south of Brazil ). It was widely used for the survival of the muleteers , and one of its characteristics is that it usually has numerous pockets and compartments, some called "secrets".


The carriel was of quite popular use when Antioquia , ( Colombia ), was a mainly agrarian region, but the process of national urbanization made the carriel remain in a certain way relegated to the peasant use. However, over the years, it acquired a strong sense of belonging, symbolic - cultural, in the Paisa region of Colombia and in the Paisa historical identity .


The carriel Antioqueño had its beginnings in Envigado and thus it was taken and appropriated by Jericó and Amalfi.


The etymological origin of the word carriel is not clear . It can come from several origins: from the French Cartier , which means bag hunter , or also, by linguistic evolution, from the English expression Carry all (load everything).


Another possibility is that the expression carriel had a Hebrew origin , that is, that it was a Hebraism . The ending "El" ( God ), is typical in the Hebrew language , as happens for example with the names Rafa-El, Gabri-El, Migu-El, etc.


Could then arise the Hebrew concepts of "load", Carr-I-El , "load or carry", or Guarn-I-El (guarniel), "save", the latter word that is used interchangeably in Antioquia to refer to this garment.


Composition of carriel paisa

The appearance, the front, the lid, or the "facade" of the carriel paisa that can be observed at first sight is made with unpeeled animal skin. In a real carriel paisa are essential hair or skin hair, otherwise very well combed, and the imitations of carriel lacking in hair do not make sense in relation to the typical original Antioquia garment.


In the original Antioquia carrieles, the skin and fur of the facade used to be of otter or tigrillo ; also, at some time, facades of lion ( puma ), tiger and ( jaguar ) were used. However lately, for ecological reasons for the preservation of wild animal species, the facades of the carriel are being made with calf skin , which preserves the fundamental presentation of the garment without the need to hunt wild fauna for the manufacture of the carriel.


The bag, or carriel proper, hangs from the left shoulder through a loop, or strap, about four centimeters wide, made of thin leather and necessarily covered with a distinctive patent leather. In the fine carrieles, the hanging straps are adorned with ojaletes and metal plates, and with drawings made with colored threads, usually green, yellow and red.

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