Threads of Time: Tradition and Change in Indigenous American Textiles

Dulemola (Blouse Panel) with Women in European Skirts

Pronounce: dulemola


Dulemola (Blouse Panel) with Women in European Skirts


The modern and contemporary women of the north coast and offshore islands of Panamá, the Guna (previously Cuna or Kuna), incorporated the European scissors and machine-made cloth in the 19th century to make a remarkable new “traditional” blouse. It mixes European-style gathered sleeves and yoke with a unique type of “cut-work” in which layers of cloth are pierced to reveal many colors and create intricate designs. Such a blouse, and the cutwork panel itself, is known in the Guna language as a dulemola.

The dulemola panels in this blouse feature two women dancing together; however, they are not shown wearing the traditional Guna wrap-around skirt, but rather flaring European-style ones. It becomes clear that there are many levels to the interaction of local Guna and imposed outsider influences in these supremely creative compositions.

Geographic Area

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




Late 20th century



Credit Line

Anonymous gift

Accession Number


Photo Credit

Photo by Bruce M. White, 2012

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