Saturday, September 09, 2006

A trip to the Museum of Man

I've always been a fan of museums. We'd always visit a few on family trips, and I would thoroughly enjoy them until I got bored, at which point in time I would mope around and while until we left. In any case, I saw an ad for an exhibit on body ornamentation at the museum of man, and I decided that I had to go. R, having grown up in San Diego, has been to the museums of Balboa Park for many a school trip, so he didn't really want to go (plus I don't know that many guys who like to hit up museums). I decided to make a day of it and packed myself a picnic lunch (Brie and home-made pesto sandwich on rosemary bread, cherry tomatoes, leftover shrimp with garlic and lemon, mini oranges, and Pocky. I then freaked out and almost didn't go, as I was terrified of going anywhere new by myself. However, after deciding not to go and unpacking my bag, the knot in my stomach made me realize that I wouldn't be able to live with my cowardice, so I decided to go anyway.

After a brief search, whereupon I rediscovered the reason that people bring blankets to sit on for picnics, I found a nice shady spot to eat my lunch. As usual, I brought way too much food.
I then went to the museum, whereupon I found the body art exhibit to be interesting, but less than impressive (and rather small). The other exhibit in the room had a pair of trepanated skulls, so I decided that it wasn't a total loss.

I then wandered about, crossing over an elevated walkway into another section of the museum, and there I happened upon the most interesting exhibit. It was about molas, wwhich are made by the Kuna Indians of Panama. The molas are these brightly colored, finely decorated squares of fabric that are used for the front of the women's' blouses. For me, though, the most interesting part was not the craftmanship (though it was exquisite), but rather the way that these women have integrated the modern world into their traditional culture. The molas didn't just have rustic or traditional designs, but elements of their every-day life as well as reflections of their current culture. They had their own interpretations of appliances, cartoon characters, and even a JFK memorial mola. My favorite, though, were the bra and panties molas. Awesome.

I'll leave you now with "La sirena ambiciosa (the ambitious siren)."

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