Bowler hats

Aymará women who live in the city but wear traditional dress are known as `cholas` or `cholitas`. The typical dress consists of a bowler hat (black, brown or dark green),  an embroidered blouse and manta (shawl) and ornate pollera skirts, worn over several layers of petticoats.

Cholas` hair is parted in the centre and braided in two long plaits that are joined by a black woolen tuft called a pocacha.

Apparently this characteristic dress was imposed on indigenous Bolivian women by the Spanish king in the 18th century.



16 thoughts on “Bowler hats

  1. Copy/pasted from Wiki the following account for the introduction of the Bowler Hats in urban woman’s culture:

    “Most of contemporary Aymaran urban culture was developed in the working-class Aymara neighborhoods of La Paz, such as Chijini and others. Bowler hats have been worn by Quechua and Aymara women in Peru and Bolivia since the 1920s when a shipment of bowler hats was reportedly sent from Europe to Bolivia via Peru for use by Europeans working on the construction of the railroads. The hats were found to be too small and were distributed to locals. The luxurious, elegant and cosmopolitan Aymara Chola dress that is an icon to Bolivia (bowler hat, aguayo, heavy pollera, skirts, boots, jewelry, etc.) began and evolved in La Paz. It is, accordingly, an urban tradition. The dress has become an ethnic symbol for Aymara women. Also, many Aymara live and work as campesinos in the surrounding Altiplano.” – wiki

    • Very interesting film. Thanks Joanne. Reminded me of the reed islands on Lake Titicaca. Whole communities live on these large floating islands, just made out of and supported by thick layers of floating reeds.

  2. Pingback: From container to cup | Joni in Bolivia

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