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Throwback Thursday. Maxwell Exhibitions: Yer Dailege! Kuna Women’s Art

Exhibit announcement

Yer Dailege!

Maxwell History

In the nearly 50 years since the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology has been in its present location, the Museum has hosted approximately 150 temporary exhibitions. Here, we look back at some of them.

Yer Dailege! Beautiful! The term refers to objects of delight, including flowers, jewelry, and the finest elaborate embroidered molas, the front and back panels of blouses worn by the Guna (Kuna) women of the San Blas Islands of Panama.

The 1978-1979 Maxwell Museum traveling exhibition was assembled by Guna women and coordinated by Maxwell Museum Curator Mari Lyn Salvador, who had lived and studied among the Guna in the 1960s.  Earlier versions of the exhibition were shown in Panama City (1967), Berkeley (1971), and San Francisco (1975). In addition to featuring more than 125 molas, ornaments and photographs, exhibit text included Guna women’s responses to individual objects, from “average” (mediano), “simple” (sencillo) and “tourist (turista) to, rarely, “beautiful” (Yer dailege), a term applied to only the finest of molas.

The molas in the exhibition came from private donors and are not part of the Maxwell Museum collections. The museum holds important collections of photographs, papers, and Guna material culture made by Salvador during her research. Some of these are the focus of a forthcoming virtual exhibition, continuing the important legacy of Dr. Salvador to anthropology and the Maxwell Museum. See the entry in our Women Who Shaped the Maxwell series for more information on Dr. Savlador's scholarship and distinguished career.