Kuna Dress and Traditions
The Kuna Women Traditional Dress:
The Kuna (also spelled Cunas) Indians of Panama live on a tropical paradise known as "the San Blas Islands" off the northeast coast of Panama since the nineteenth century. One of the most important native groups in Panama that contribute substantially to his Economy and offer the most beautiful work of arts.
The Cunas are well known for their molas, the term molas means "blouse" "dress" or "clothing".
The traditional dress is also an essential part of their cultural identity and the dress consist of a blouse with short, puffy sleeves, cut out of beautiful printed fabric, into which, the extraordinary mola panels are set in the front and back of the blouse.
When they do not longer want to continue wearing that blouse, they remove the mola panels from the blouse carefully and sell it to Mola Collectors.
The mid-lenght skirt, the saburete, is a rectangle of fabric wrapped around the waist, the fabric has some beautiful desings and the background is green or blue.
The head scarf is draped over a woman's short hair but can also be folded and carried over the shoulder, the scarf is also known as muswe, this is a panel of bright red fabric with some beautiful yellow designs.
The wini or the long string of beads is wrapped around the forearms and calves, the most common colors are orange, yellow and black, but it can also come in a variety of colors and when they are wrapped around it forms a beautiful traditional geometric desing.
Their dress is completed with a small gold ring through the nose, earrings, necklaces and gold rings on their fingers.
Their cheeckbones are highlighted with annatto fruit, it has an orange-red color, and the woman's also use the jagua juice to draw a black line from the base of the forehead along the bridge of the nose to the tip.
Shoes: the woman's wear any pair of sandals.
Making a mola is not only a past time but it is an important source of income for the Kuna family.
The mola blouse, skirt and accessories is one of the most beautiful dresses in the world, just recently a Panamanian Lady won a best skirt award: she wore a mola inspired skirt showing the magnificient work of the Kuna Indians of San Blas, Panama.
To learn more about the Kunas Social organization, Daily life, Food Preparation,Music, song and dance, Language I suggest to buy the book Molas and Kuna Traditions it is available on my website. The book has a lot pictures to help you understand their Culture and a lot of information.
Kuna mola blouse and skirt (saburete) Kuna Head Scarf (Muswe)
Kuna Wini "beads or chaquiras" Kuna Mola Blouse
has become larger with more complicated patterns
Kuna women wearing the Gold chest plates Kuna skirt (Saburete)
necklaces and earrings
The black line of Jagua and a gold earring through the nose The traditional way of living
the woman's are always showing their beautiful molas for sell.
Dugout Canoes are made from a single trunk of hard wood The day begins early, the men leave in dugout canoes
the big cayucos are made of several pieces to go fishing