Rib-stitched Hooks & Keys, Wounaan Basket


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Swirling detailed fish hooks form rows that alternate with boxy Greek keys. This modern shaped piece flares out in the middle, rounding out near the top, and tapers strongly at the base. Woven in a rib-stitch technique that gives the piece a bumpy look as each coil is emphasized.

16″ W x 17″ H, by a Wounaan weaver.

Free US shipping on all orders.

In Wounmeu, the language of the Wounaan, there is a special name for fine traditional coil-construction palm-fiber baskets — hösig di. Expert weavers stitch silk-fine strands of the black palm they call chunga, brilliantly or subtly colored with vegetal and organic dyes, over coils of naguala palm.

The newest, softest green palm fronds are shredded by hand, extracting the internal fibers as thin as thread. After drying in the sun, these fibers are dyed in mixtures created using roots, berries and seed pods, all-naturally sourced vegetal colors.

Chunga is so closely linked to Wounaan tradition and daily life that, when it comes to the creation of Hösig Di (the Wounmeu term for their fine baskets), each basket is believed to begin with an inherent spiritual quality. Further to this point, the women who weave them are often called “spirit weavers”. Learn more about how Rainforest Baskets art is created.

Stitched over many months and years from natural palm fibers and organic dyes, your handmade woven art should be displayed proudly, away from any windows and skylights. The ultra-violet rays of direct sun and strong light can cause the saturated natural dyes in textile and fiber art to fade, and can even damage the fibers themselves.

If your woven art resides with you in the desert or other dry environments, you may feel better occasionally misting it (as often done to wicker or rattan) inside with distilled or non-chlorinated tap water. Using a paper towel, gently pat any excess moisture from the interior.

We offer free shipping within the continental United States.

  • For addresses in the US, tracked postage takes 2-7 business days.
  • International shipping is available to all destinations. You can either 1) complete your purchase online and we will send you a list of shipping options and prices. Once the shipping is paid we will send the objects and tracking information. Or 2) send an inquiry through email or product page and we will send your approximate shipping options based on your delivery address.
  • Rainforest Baskets is not responsible for customs duties or taxes on international shipments, nor is it responsible for delays associated with the import process.

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Geometric motif Rainforest Baskets draw their inspiration from multiple sources, including pre-Colombian textiles, ceramics and rock art. Baskets woven with these designs are often referred to as cultural, due to the fact that a large part of their inspiration stems from body paintings and patterns on spiritual paraphernalia used by village shamans. Learn more about motif and design.

Masterful coil construction Wounaan baskets are created using thin shreds of Chunga palm fibers dyed into various colors, coiled over thicker Naguala palm. Shredded palm fronds, dried in the sun, readily absorb the vegetal dyes created out of local resources. Roots, berries and river silt are just some of the items that are used to boil, bury, and simmer palm fronds in to take on vibrant colors.

Vegetal Dye Sources

Lianas Vine

A woody climbing plant that hangs from trees, especially in tropical rainforests. It is used to make both a pink color and a cream color, depending on which part of the vine that is used.


Saffron makes many colors, including a rich green. Also used to make green are soliman (a seed-like potatoe) and earth.

Cocobolo Wood

Cocobolo is a prized rosewood, used for decorative carvings, knife handles and more. Many carvers leave behind wood shavings that are used as a chocolate colored dye.

Trumpet Vine

Flowers are used to create brilliant colors depending on the time in bloom. Vibrant red and colorful hues or rich, darker hues depending on the lifecycle of the plant.

We work with many weavers, apx 50-75 Wounaan and a dozen Embera weavers. Here we spotlight some of the artists.

About Sara Ginguimia

Sara Ginguimia is an indigenous Panamanian, of the Wounaan tribe. She is from the small remote village of Maje, Chiman, which is located in the dense Darien Rainforest.

Sara started weaving at 14 years old, taught by her older sister who encouraged her to create finer, smaller stitches and to sell her work.

She started weaving cultural design with just black and white colors, finally concentrating on perfecting the feather design (seen at right). She spent years perfecting her design, including paw prints, and finally settled on the feather as her signature design. There is no other weaver who can execute this design with such small, straight stitches, and Sara is know by collectors for her feather pieces with interesting shapes.

Sara collects some of her own materials and dyes, and also purchases unique colors from other weavers. With her expert stitching, she also teaches weaving to help others learn her skill.

Sara grew up in the countryside, and prefers to live there raising her four children. With her basket income she has been able to help pay for her kids’ education, as well as help two of her sons build their own homes.


At Rainforest Baskets our team brings beautiful handmade woven art to your space, and empowers indigenous weavers to create a better future for themselves and their families.

Wounaan Master Weavers

Passing down traditions through generations

Empowering Indigenous Women

Building self esteem through creating art


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