"Carrying Coca: 1,500 Years of Andean Chuspas"

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"Carrying Coca: 1,500 Years of Andean Chuspas"
Courtesy of the American Museum of Natural History
Grace Goodell. Men and boys in a market, Bolivia. Photographed in 1968
You may recognize the chuspa from your local flea market, but the handwoven Andean shoulder bag amounts to much more than a Latin American–inspired fashion trend. Designed more than 1,500 years ago, before the arrival of the Spanish, chuspas are still used to carry coca leaves, a plant that has traditionally been utilized for both medicinal and ritual purposes throughout Andean communities (and can also be used to produce cocaine). With 33 coca bags, fiber samples, looms, spinning implements, and documentary photographs from 20th-century expeditions to Peru and Bolivia, the exhibit examines the ongoing importance of chuspas and coca to local culture and the global economy.


Event phone: 212-501-3000
Event website: http://bgc.bard.edu/gallery
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