Threads of Time: Tradition and Change in Indigenous American Textiles

Dulemola (Blouse Panel) with Geometric Patterns



Dulemola (Blouse Panel) with Geometric Patterns

Catalogue Entry

The dulemola panel at right features the geometry of four double spirals (called biru birut) that ultimately refers to the eight levels of the Guna universe. It only has two layers of cloth, which is characteristic of the older “grandmother” compositions, though these clearly continue to be made today.

Yet this example introduces an innovation: the bottom cloth is polka dotted rather than the expected solid color. When the maroon top cloth is pierced—to an impressive degree and with great precision—to form the spirals, glimpses of the tiny dots come and go for the viewer. This subtle dynamism takes advantage of the patterns available in machine-made cloth, drawing attention to the lower layer in a new way. Guna blending of the traditional and the new takes many creative forms.

Geographic Area

Central America, Guna Yala (San Blas Islands/North Coast
of Panamá)




20th century



Credit Line

Lent by Sherry Thorup

Accession Number


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