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The first known European reference to hammocks was made by Christopher Columbus in the 15th Century, when he described the people he encountered on his first voyage to South America as sleeping in "hamacas" and "nets". This was obviously a brand new concept to Columbus, who’s countrymen and women would have slept in more traditional European beds. Nowadays, however, these “nets” have become an icon of relaxation around the globe, but still carry the feeling of exotic charm that Columbus first discovered.
Originating from the skills of Brazil's Tapeba Indians, these hand made, cotton hammocks are cross-woven, and usually brightly coloured, their effervescence being a trademark signature of the lively and rich culture from which they sprang. Unlike Mayan or Nicaraguan hammocks, Brazilian hammocks are more suited to slightly cooler climates, owing to the fact that they are not as well ventilated within the weave on account of their tightly-wound fibres. The tighter the weave – the more supported you feel as you lie in the hammock. The bed is soft and supple and is very much like canvas, leaving less of the net-like impressions on the user’s skin than, for instance, a wide-weave net hammock, especially those made of synthetic materials.
Brazilian hammocks do not use a wooden separator at each end, and are ideal for lying diagonally, which is the traditional way to use them, their tight-weave also creating an extra sense of security, making them ideal for sleeping in. Much like Mayan hammocks, they can be hung in high-attach hammock stands, (as they dip more when used than hammocks which use separators at each end),or between two trees or posts, or from interior ceilings and walls.
Many millions of Brazilians use these hammocks as an alternative to beds on a regular basis, and their comfort and balance is tried and tested. Brazil's rich artistic and cultural roots have greatly influenced their styles and designs of hammocks, and their flare for colour is evident in the deep blues, vibrant reds, purples, and many other intense hues which go into their wonderful designs.
For this reason, (apart from their practical use), Brazilian hammocks act as an interesting and vibrant accompaniment and addition to many homes all over the world, with their owners as much interested in the Brazilian hammock's ornate, yet simple beauty, as their worth as a secure, comfortable place to sleep or relax and unwind.
About the Author: Tom West
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