The Ombu tree
The Ombu tree is as old as the Argentinean Pampas region itself, and is the largest tree-like plant to occur naturally in this unique ecosystem. The Ombu is uniquely adapted to the dry, fire prone pampas because it does not need a lot of water to survive and has a “spongy” large base that stores water and makes the plant impervious to the frequent wildfires of the grasslands.
The Ombu is known as the lighthouses of the pampas with a girth of 40 to 50 feet and a height of 40 to 60 feet this massive tree provides shade and protection from the merciless sun with its large canopy earning the tree it’s second name “bella sombra” meaning beautiful shade, giving shelter to the gaucho and the cattle who were herded on the pampas. The Ombu tree is the patriotic tree of Argentina and is known as one of the toughest trees in the world.
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Guarda Pampa The ancient inigenous Indians of Argentina the ‘mapuches’ were known as crafters or ‘weavers of the loom’ who created intricate patterns of geometric designs known as ‘guarda pampa’. The ‘mapuches’, the predominant group of Indians living in South America more that 5000 years ago were the creators of this simple yet sophisticated design. At a glance these designs containing geometric patterns using staggered crosses, rhombuses and double triangle shapes seem simple but to the ‘mapuches’ there was meaning in each design. The weaves represented hierarchy and the thread colors represented much more, black was associated with nobility and red referred to blood or the bravery of a soldier. The designs containing cruses, diamonds, and triangles are known as string symbols; both the top and bottom are a mirror of each other representing the images of mountains mirrored in the reflection of the beautiful lakes in Argentina. When the European settlers arrived in the Patagonia South of Argentina, they found themselves lacking in many essential items which included clothing. The settlers adopted from the ‘mapuches’ their customs and materials using the loom and leather techniques of making clothing locally. The influence of the ‘mapuches’ on the settlers was profound, causing an adoption of the wide use of traditional design including the use of the ‘guarda pampa’ which became the symbol of the southern region of Patagonia associated with rural work and gaucho traditions. These designs can be found in traditional clothing such as ponchos, bracelets, belts and bandannas. Today the ‘guarda pampa’ is a noble symbol of Argentina, originated by the Indians of Southern Patagonia and adopted by the Europeans, it now represents the fusion of the two cultures into the present. When you buy quality clothing and accessories with these traditional symbols from Old Ombu you are getting a piece of the history of Argentina, which color will you wear red or blue?
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