12 / 2002

Chile - Goatskin opank with rawhide lace

This opank is absolutely "back to basics" in footwear. The one-piece foot covering named "moccasin" in the North-American Indian language or "opank" in the Serbian language was known by the North European inhabitants as the "Pampootie". A fresh piece of untanned skin was cut to size around the foot. Small slits were made at the edges. A long strip of narrow depilated rawhide was then laced through these slits. This lace was pulled whereby all sides of the skin turned up and wrapped the foot. The opank was then removed from the foot and just dried in the sun, resulting in a perfectly fitting foot covering. The one shown here, made of goatskin, has the hair left on. The Mapuche-Indian tribe in the Southern parts of Chile wore it in the first half of the twentieth century.

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