The Wounaan and Embera people from the rainforest in Darien province of Panama are master artisans. The women are well known for their fine baskets and the men for their cocobolo wood and tagua carvings. The baskets are hand woven using natural fibers found in the forest.
A variety of reeds and palm fibers are normally used. Chunga, the fiber of the black palm, is the fiber of choice among the weavers. The colors are produced with natural extracts of plants and earth, using the traditional methods for dyeing basket fibers. Seldom, if ever, are two baskets alike.
The original designs usually portray life in the village, local animals and insects, or plant life. Income earned from the sale of these lovely baskets reduces the need to destroy the rainforest for agriculture.