rich heritage is evidenced by the wealth of the unique handicrafts
made by its people. Today millions of artisans produce quality
handicrafts in Ecuador; their products include hand-woven
clothing, carpets, Tagua figurines, toquilla straw hats
("Panama hats"), furniture, decorative ceramics,
and leather goods.
principal markets for Ecuadorian handicrafts are Canada,
Chile, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, the United
Kingdom, and the United States.
Straw Hats ("Panama hats"):
is no hat more famous than the Panama hat. Although technological
advances have led to the development of ultra-light fibers,
it remains the best hat to cover your noggin in hot, sunny
climates. While its name suggests otherwise, this celebrated
hat has never been made in Panama; in fact, Ecuador has
produced the Toquilla straw hat for over a century. The
misnomer arose when travelers bought the hats from Panamanian
commercial houses that had imported the Toquilla hats from
Ecuador at the turn of the 20th century. The travelers unwittingly
referred to them as "Panama hats."
also referred to as "ivory nut", comes from the
inner lining of a large nut produced by a species of palm
tree. Ivory nuts were first exported to Germany in the 1860s,
where they were used to make buttons. Today Tagua is used
in the manufacture of brooches, buttons, chess pieces, walking
stick and umbrella handles, pendants, and a myriad of trinkets.
Ecuador exports Tagua to Italy, which remains its principal
market because of its dominance in the fashion industry,
and, to a lesser extent, to Germany, Japan, Korea, Spain,
and the United States. Ecuador is the world's only exporter
manufactures a variety of high quality leather products,
including bridles, jackets, saddles, and shoes. Due to low
production costs and high quality, the export of Ecuadorian
leather products, handmade and manufactured, has boomed
in recent years.