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Bolivian Tapestry Suede Tote

Price: $109.00

Item#:72047

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Using a centuries-old technique, Bolivian families weave mantas—beautiful woolen textiles in geometric patterns—for use as bedding and apparel. Today, artisans take pieces of vintage mantas and frame them in soft suede and durable leather to create these beautiful totes. Features zip closure and roomy interior compartment with cell phone and sunglasses pockets. As each manta is unique, please expect some variation in color and pattern. Available in Red and Brown.

  • Handmade in Bolivia
  • Handles are 15 1/2'' long
  • 14''W x 11 3/4''L x 3 1/2''D

One of the artists involved in making these Bolivian manta bags is Julio Reas Patzi. Growing up in the country, he spoke only Quechua and tended to the family's cows and sheep. None of the family had ever seen a TV set, nor used a phone. As a young man, he traveled to La Paz to buy a radio for the family, and after seeing the economic possibilities in the city, decided to stay and help support his family back home by finding work with a leather shop.


Over his years of apprenticeship in this family-run leather workshop, Julio learned and mastered leather techniques, and learned Spanish in anticipation of one day opening his own shop in La Paz. Over the years, his brothers, sisters, and cousins joined him in the city, each learning leatherwork and coming to specialize in a product or technique such as tooling and stitching, or producing wallets and belts. Each member of the Patzi family who came to the city now run their own small studios in El Alto and the villas just outside of town. As a result, Julio's nieces and nephews and the children of his extended family back home have all been able to attend and finish school.


Maintaining a connection to his country home and Quechua roots is important to Julio, and one of the ways he does that is by incorporating textiles into his work. Quechua and Aymara women produce woolen textiles using handlooms that they call mantas or awayos—geometric-patterned fabrics used as ponchos, shawls, infant slings, blankets, and more. Women often gather the wool from their own animals, then spin, dye, and weave the yarn themselves. Julio buys vintage and new mantas from village women and incorporates them into his bags and backpacks, guaranteeing that each product is unique and fully handmade, and also giving women in his ancestral community an additional way to make money for their families.


Using a simple backstrap loom and centuries-old techniques, Bolivian families weave mantas—beautiful woolen textiles in geometric patterns. Common among pre-Inca and pre-conquest cultures such as the Aymara, some of the earliest mantas found in textile museum collections date from 1400 A.D. Warm and durable, they are used as slings to carry infants and blankets for bedding. They can also be worn either on the back, like a cape, or over the back and arms, like a shawl. Mantas usually have a simple striped pattern, and can last for generations.


Like many indigenous art forms, fewer young people are learning how to weave, and the craft is in danger of losing its place in Andean culture. By finding new uses for mantas that increase the market and appreciation for these crafts more artisans are encouraged to continue the tradition. Today, exquisite vintage and contemporary woven mantas can be found as accents in leather bags, tailored jackets, and as culturally rich examples of indigenous art independent of their enduring practical use.


REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
Bolivian Tapestry Suede Tote
 
3.2

(based on 19 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (5)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (6)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (2)

44%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Beautiful (13)
  • Stylish (12)
  • Versatile (10)
  • Unique (9)
  • Good quality (8)

Cons

  • Poor workmanship (4)

Best Uses

  • Everyday (12)
  • Travel (6)
  • Office (4)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Practical (11), Classic style (9), Stylish (7), Comfort-oriented (6), Career (3)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (7), Yes (7)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Love it & receive compliments regurarly

I wanted a bag large enough to hold bulkier items along with my wallet and agenda. My netbook easily fits with extra room. It also comfortably holds wipes, a couple of pull-ups,...Read complete review

I wanted a bag large enough to hold bulkier items along with my wallet and agenda. My netbook easily fits with extra room. It also comfortably holds wipes, a couple of pull-ups, drink, and snacks when i'm out with my daughter. I like the outside pockets (the tapestries) on either side of the bag (the full width of the bag). I bought the red one for my aunt a few years ago (she loves hers), and when I needed a new bag I decided to get the brown. Nice quality. It is thicker leather and I anticipate having it for some time. The leatherwork is pretty at the base.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

I love these bags...but

I own a red bag that I purchased 4 years ago, and it's held up really well, and i often get compliments on it. I gave a brown bag to a friend a...Read complete review

I own a red bag that I purchased 4 years ago, and it's held up really well, and i often get compliments on it. I gave a brown bag to a friend a couple of years ago and she also loved it. When I ordered a bag for a christmas present this year, I was sad to discover that black cotton lining had been replaced by some sort of shiny synthetic black lining....not nearly as nice. The bag also had a chemical odor which dissipated when I aired it out. But still, why mess with a great thing? Where's the quality control?

Reviewed by 19 customers

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Displaying reviews 1-10

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1.0

Outside seams and Lining very poor

By Feathers

from Spencer, NY

About Me Classic, Comfort-Oriented, Practical, Stylish

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Unique

Cons

  • Poor Workmanship

Best Uses

  • Everyday

Comments about Bolivian Tapestry Suede Tote:

Christmas 2012 gift from my mother-inlaw, within just a couple of months the lining had ripped at nearly all the seams. I've gotten so many compliments on this bag and love the look, but I'm really disappointed when it comes to the quality.

  • Was this a gift?:
  • Yes
 
1.0

Really Disappointed

By Clusterliver

from Candia, New Hampshire

About Me Stylish

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Beautiful
  • Unique

Cons

  • Poor Workmanship

Best Uses

  • Everyday

Comments about Bolivian Tapestry Suede Tote:

A very attractive tote that my wife liked for a long time. I purchased it and couldn't believe the stench that accompanied it. We aired it out for over a week, both indoors and outdoors, with no improvement. Had to return it. There have been similar complaints on this article and NG appears to have ignored customers. Quality control is lacking and NG should remove this article from the catalog until this problem is resolved.

  • Was this a gift?:
  • Yes

(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

 
2.0

Quality has gone down hill.

By Wendybo

from Boston, MA

Verified Reviewer

Pros

  • Beautiful
  • Stylish
  • Unique

Cons

  • Poor Workmanship

Best Uses

    Comments about Bolivian Tapestry Suede Tote:

    My husband originally got me one of these bags around 5 years ago and I loved it. It held up beautifully for 4 years. My husband ordered a replacement for me last Christmas and within just a couple of months the lining had ripped at nearly all the seams. I was sent a new back at no cost but this new back is holding up even worse. Not only are the seams of the lining ripped but the wool tapestry is also ripping through. I've gotten so many compliments on this bag and love the look, but I'm really disappointed at the quality. Will not be asking for a replacement this time.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • Yes

    (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Great great great bag

    By Ana in CA

    from Santa Cruz, CA

    About Me Classic, Comfort-Oriented, Practical

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Beautiful
    • Durable
    • Good Quality
    • Unique
    • Versatile

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Everyday
      • Office
      • Travel

      Comments about Bolivian Tapestry Suede Tote:

      I've had this bag for 3 years - I use it every day as my shoulder bag and have everything in it (wallet, sunglasses, papers, keys, phone, cards, etc. etc.). In three years, nothing has broken or torn or discolored or become misshapen - this bag has not moved and I still regularly get comments on how great it looks. It's the first time I can keep a shoulder bag for this long. It's a great great great quality bag. Also, the leather work is really beautiful.

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Love this tote!

      By mom

      from los gatos

      About Me Comfort-Oriented, Practical, Stylish

      Pros

      • Beautiful
      • Good Length
      • Good Quality
      • Stylish
      • Unique
      • Versatile

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Everyday
        • Office

        Comments about Bolivian Tapestry Suede Tote:

        Pleasantly surprised at just how gorgeous it is and good sized and functional too, as I was a bit worried after reading some posts about it being too small and not ornate enough.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

        (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

         
        3.0

        Great exterior; not very nice lining

        By Beth

        from NoVa

        About Me Classic, Practical

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Beautiful
        • Good Length
        • Stylish
        • Unique

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Everyday

          Comments about Bolivian Tapestry Suede Tote:

          The handbag is very pretty, and the craftmanship is very nice---on the outside of the bag. The interior lining has a noxious, chemical odor, that does not dissipate easily. I turned it inside out, and washed the lining. Twice. It made me feel a great deal of pity for the workers who had been supplied with the nasty stuff to work with in the first place. I have no idea what the content of the fabric is; but, frankly, it smells flammable. I may rip it out and re-line it myself. Based on that, I really can't recommend it in good conscience.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          I like this handbag a lot!

          By georgef

          from Oscoda, Mich

          About Me Classic, Practical

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Beautiful
          • Good Length
          • Good Quality
          • Stylish
          • Versatile

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Everyday
            • Night Out

            Comments about Bolivian Tapestry Suede Tote:

            I will use this handbag as a daily accessory. I love the appearence of it. It is lightweight and it holds everything I need. The outside pockets are roomy, but I wish they had zippers.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • Yes

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            3.0

            not real pleased

            By Elena

            from Denver

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Beautiful
            • Unique
            • Versatile

            Cons

            • Clasp Breaks Easily

            Best Uses

              Comments about Bolivian Tapestry Suede Tote:

              Given as Christmas gift and the zipper is already broken

              • Was this a gift?:
              • Yes

              (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Great bag

              By Scripsi

              from Philadelphia, PA

              Verified Reviewer

              Pros

              • Beautiful
              • Good Quality
              • Stylish
              • Unique
              • Versatile

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Everyday
                • Travel

                Comments about Bolivian Tapestry Suede Tote:

                This has been my primary handbag for a year and a half and it's holding up beautifully. It's a great size for me, very roomy. I have the red one and it's striking - I get compliments on it frequently.

                The quality is very nice. At first I wished that the handles were doubled so that both sides had smooth leather... however, I have realized that having one side of each strap sueded makes it less likely to slip off my shoulder.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

                (4 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                2.0

                NOT AS SHOWN

                By e

                from spokane wa

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                      Comments about Bolivian Tapestry Suede Tote:

                      Bag is not as shown as it was very simple and not much embroidery, sent back the first one and the next one was just as PLAIN. I specifically asked for a bag with more color but not to be.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

                      Displaying reviews 1-10

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