Vintage Cocama Tribe Shell Bracelets


These bracelets were made by the Cocama peoples in the 1970s of snail shells from the Amazon Basin.

The Cocama, also known as: Cocoma, Cocamilla, Huallaga, Pampadeque and Xibitaoan, mainly live in very remote parts of the upper Amazon region of Peru, where they number between ten and fifteen thousand, with just a few hundred more living in Brazil and Columbia.

Their area of the Peruvian Amazon is sparsely inhabited and not easily reached. The Cocama live anywhere from a few hours to a full day's boat ride from Iquitos -the nearest township- which is the largest place on earth that cannot be reached by road and is more than a day by commercial passenger boat from any launching point.

Despite this remoteness and their language barrier -speaking mostly native Tupi-Guarani- the visitor experiences from the outside world have heavily influenced their ancient way of life. Many Cocama communities now stay in touch with each other — and with the rest of the world — by short-wave radio and are learning to blend the old and modern ways as best they can.