Paruma Fabric and the Embera

The Emberá and the Wounaan have similar material cultures, including post-and-pole dwellings, spoked kitchen fires, and the use of dart poisons that characterize Amazonian tribes. Traditionally, women wear a short wraparound skirt ( paruma), formerly of bark cloth and now of brightly colored yard cloth, and men wear a slender loincloth ( guayuco). Both sexes paint geometric designs and color their skin with indigo-hued jagua (Genipa americana ) or red-hued achiote. Silver coins are fashioned into necklaces or pounded into bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. Today men wear Western clothes, but women maintain traditional dress. Plantains, bananas, yams, and rice are the staple foods of the Emberá and the Wounaan. Drinks, often fermented, are made from maize, sugarcane, and fruits.