Threads of Time: Tradition and Change in Indigenous American Textiles

Dulemola (Blouse Panel) with Figures in Santa Hats



Dulemola (Blouse Panel) with Figures in Santa Hats


Like other panels that take on “global” themes but give them definite Guna twists (see examples here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), especially related to Christianity, the very recent example at left juxtaposes tropical flowers and people in Santa Claus hats. The faces are definitely “white,” reflecting those that brought Christianity/Santa ideas to indigenous Central America. In a Western, illusionistic touch, the eyes and other features are shown in a kind of three-quarter view. Ancient/traditional American artistic systems do not include such partial views of faces, so this is a concession to non-Native aesthetics.

The cut-outs that outline the beautiful, colorful flowers evidence a very talented textile artist and many different colors of patches inserted between the maroon upper cloth and the pink lowermost one. The tiny triangular background dots are a more recent type of elaboration, as well. Seamless blending of current global culture and indigenous flora, plus novel virtuoso flourishes, characterize 21st century dulemola arts.

Geographic Area

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




Early 21st century



Credit Line

Museum purchase

Accession Number


Photo Credit

Photo by Bruce M. White, 2014

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