A ruana is a poncho-style outer garment typical of the Andes region of Colombia, particularly in the Boyacá department and Antioquia. According to ProColombia (former Proexport), the official Colombian agency in charge of international tourism, foreign investment, and non-traditional exports, the word ruana comes from the Chibcha ruana meaning "Land of Blankets", used to refer to the woolen fabrics manufactured by the Muisca natives.
Similar to other poncho-like garments in Latin America, a ruana is basically a very thick, soft and sleeveless square or rectangular blanket with an opening in the center for the head to go through with a slit down the front to the hem. A ruana may or may not come with a hood to cover the head.
The ruanas worn by the native Muisca were apparently made of wool and knee-long, well-suited to the cold temperatures of the region where they were used not only as a piece of garment but also as a blanket for use in bed or to sit on as a cushion of sorts. Many ruanas are handcrafted with sheep’s virgin wool. A 1856 watercolor shows an indigenous man in the Cordillera Occidental of Colombia weaving a ruana using a large foot-pedaled loom.
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