Threads of Time: Tradition and Change in Indigenous American Textiles

Dulemola (Blouse Panel) with Dogs in Sunglasses Scene



Dulemola (Blouse Panel) with Dogs in Sunglasses Scene


Pure whimsy and lighthearted humor characterize some contemporary dulemolaguna, such as this one featuring two dogs wearing sunglasses and perhaps carrying purses. The tropical flower between them and the lozenge-shaped cutouts in the background are familiar Guna elements. The patterning of the purses with geometric handles atop branching square spirals is typical as well.

However, the extremely bright colors betray the ever-changing Guna dulemola textile style as it incorporates cloth made with synthetic dyes currently available in the global marketplace. Certainly, the silly subject of anthropomorphized dogs is meant to appeal to a certain type of tourist.

Yet mirror image, dual compositions are a common Guna artistic choice, so this dulemola is not completely out of line with tradition. Indeed, the possibility of humans turning into animals, and vice versa, within a spiritual experience is a basic assumption of the Guna’s shamanic religion. Thus, even shopping dogs can be folded into the aesthetic system of indigenous Guna artists in clever and appealing ways. This scene may mock tourists as being lowly dogs, as well.

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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