Recent Acquisitions feature: Chumbe

As our Recent Acquisitions Evening approaches, we’re continuing our series of posts featuring items that will be on display.

This chumbe, created by Mamá Pastora Juajibioy, an artist from the Camëntsá Nation in Colombia, is a woven sash that tells a story. Its narrative is communicated using semasiographic writing rather than a phonetic-based alphabet. In semasiographic writing, a symbol represents a concept or idea instead of a phoneme or syllable. Other examples of semasiographic writing include mathematical notation and musical notation. This chumbe and the writing it uses are emblematic of the oral tradition of the Camëntsá people.

The Rare Book Collection holds one of two chumbes in the UNC Library system; the other is in the Sloane Art Library. The copy in the Rare Book Collection is housed with two CDs, which hold recordings of an event related to the chumbe, including a poetry reading and oral literature history given by Hugo Jamioy Juagiboy of the Camëntsá Nation and a chumbe weaving and storytelling history given by the artist who created this chumbe, Mamá Pastora Juajibioy of the Camëntsá Nation. The recordings include information about how the chumbe is made and what stories it encodes.


This and many other items will be on display at the Rare Book Collection’s Recent Acquisitions Evening, a not-under-glass display of some of the Collection’s notable acquisitions. We hope you’ll join us on March 22 for the unique opportunity to see these remarkable items up close.

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