Threads of Time: Tradition and Change in Indigenous American Textiles

Dulemola (Blouse Panel) with Mother Bird Feeding Chick



Dulemola (Blouse Panel) with Mother Bird Feeding Chick


Guna aesthetic masterfully balances maze-like linear designs with figuration. The image of a mother feeding her baby bird is barely distinguishable from the spiraling black and red forms. However, larger areas of black for the birds' heads and the two bits of white for eyes help the viewer to comprehend the two animals. The left-hand one is smaller and its wings face downward, its feet to the right. Its beak is piercing the open triangular one of the large mother bird, who stands upright. Yet look away from the heads for a moment and you may lose the birds in the exciting tangle of lines and spirals. This is a deliberate technique, perceptually challenging and artistically sophisticated.

Geographic Area

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




20th century



Credit Line

Lent by Sherry Thorup

Accession Number


Photo Credit

Photo by Michael McKelvey, 2017

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