2 / 1998

South American yucca fibre sandal * Bronze Age * 3000 - 1200 B.C.

Although leather was already known to the South American ChimĂș indians in the Bronze Age, for easy daily wear they braided simple sandals made from fibres of the yucca plant, belonging to the agavaceae (agave). These fibres were very flexible and strong as iron. The sharp pointed ends of the leaves were removed in such a way that the inner fibres of the leaves, which could reach a length of one meter, stayed attached to the point removed. This point was subsequently used as a needle and thread to fix uppers and soles together. The yucca plant was similar in use to papyrus in Egypt. It too produced writing paper and shoe making material like sisal.

Research and text by : W.A.H.M. Habraken-Oosterhout-Holland
Illustration by : Colin Ball - Waalwijk - Holland