Wounaan Indian woman with
an exquisite parrot and butterfly
basket she had been working on for a month.
While in Panama City I visited
the Central Artisans Market located behind the old Y.M.C.A. in
the town of Balboa. I was looking for the intricately woven baskets
of the Wounaan and Embera Indians from the Darien rain forest
province of Panama. I was not disappointed and found many designs
from geometric to tropical birds, insects and plant life. I watched
in fascination as the Indian women wove the baskets using needles
and long grass threads dyed from extracts of plants and earth.
Large baskets take over 3 months to weave and sell for $400. Unfortunately
my budget did not go that high and I chose a medium parrot basket
for $70 and a butterfly and cricket plate for $25.
My Darien baskets and some of my
MOLAS OF THE
Basket weaving of the
The San Blas Islands of
Panama is an area I looked forward to visiting ever since I began
to see colorful molas on other cruising yachts. As a small girl
the intricate, multi-layered applique textile art sewn by the
Kuna indian women represented a magical land far away that beckoned
It took 25 years before
I sailed to these enchanted islands on my own boat where I experienced
the warmth and pride of these independent and unusual people.
I enjoyed my days of interacting and getting to know a few Kuna
women and had hours of choosing my own collection of molas.
The Kuna Village of Mormake
A narrow pathway through
The Restrapo family home.
Choosing a mola.
Kuna Indian sewing a mola.
Kuna ladies showing me