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Ed Rossbach

San Blas
1967
cotton and linen
72 x 70 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Lisa and Dudley Anderson

The San Blas Archipelago is a string of about four hundred tropical islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama. The islands are famous for colorful molas, the traditional blouse worn by the women of the Kuna Indian tribe, who are native to the region. Only the women, using a reverse-appliqué method, stitch the bright cotton panels. Ed Rossbach's textile pays tribute to the Kuna's cultural fiber tradition. As we study this vibrant wall piece, it becomes clear that color is the content of San Blas.