Tagua Nut Carvings

Almost everyone with a passing interest in Panama knows about the molas produced by the Kuna Indians of the San Blas Archepelego. Lesser known are the crafts produced by the Embera Wounaan Indians of the Darien. I love their Tagua nut carvings. Not only are the carvings themselves intriquite but the painting of the carvings bring them to life. The Indians are inspired by the things they see in nature around them…lizards, snakes, turtles, fish, birds, insects…

The Tagua nut comes from palm trees that grow from Panama to Equador. About the size of a small potato they are rock hard. Brown on the inside and white on the outside they are often referred to as “Jungle Ivory.”

The Tagua Nut

tagua-nut1

Hatching Turtle

hatching-turtle

Large Iguana

large-iguana1

Two Iguanas

two-iguanas

Swimming Turtles

swimming-turtles

Turtles in Flight

front-turtles

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Tagua Nut Carvings

  1. Still mesmerized looking at the intricacies of those carvings. The creatures look so life-like, just ready to crawl off that “rock” their perched on.

    • Please change “their” to “they’re”. Certified and former English teacher here, who hates when he displays a grammatical error.

      • Captmrbill

        Hey Mark,

        You might want to get recertified because “their” is quite correct as a possive in this context and “they’re” is not.

  2. oldsalt1942

    Well, it’s nice to know that two of my good friends take some time out of their days to read my blog and leave comments.

    Now, I have to make a comment on the comments themselves.

    I have to say right up front that I don’t know English grammar. While Mrs. Lowell was teaching it to our eighth grade class I was spending most of that time sitting outside Mr. Reynolds’s (see Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style.” Reynolds’s’s is correct, Reynolds’ is not) office for disciplinary action.

    However, I do know what is correct usage and what is not and made a living with words as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor and as someone impaled on their own free lance for many years.

    Bill, if Mark’s sentence had said “…their rock(s),” or “…that rock of their’s” his use of “their” would have been correct. But by ending his sentence with a preposition (I must have been good the day she taught us about those) the rock is no longer being possessed by the frogs and therefore “they’re” is correct. The rock they are on.

    Mark, as a certified English teacher didn’t you ever tell your students it is not correct usage to end a sentence with a preposition? Of course when someone said the same thing to Winston Churchill (a distant relative of mine [Google “Phamous Philbrick’s] to discover some others) he replied that it was an “impertinence up with which I will not put.”

    And Bill, spellcheck…possive.

    http://www.better-english.com/easier/theyre.htm

  3. oldsalt1942

    Well, it’s nice to know that two of my good friends take some time out of their days to read my blog and leave comments.

    Now, I have to make a comment on the comments themselves.

    I have to say right up front that I don’t know English grammar. While Mrs. Lowell was teaching it to our eighth grade class I was spending most of that time sitting outside Mr. Reynolds’s (see Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style.” Reynolds’s is correct, Reynolds’ is not) office for disciplinary action.

    However, I do know what is correct usage and what is not and made a living with words as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor and as someone impaled on their own free lance for many years.

    Bill, if Mark’s sentence had said “…their rock(s),” or “…that rock of their’s” his use of “their” would have been correct. But by ending his sentence with a preposition (I must have been good the day she taught us about those) the rock is no longer being possessed by the frogs and therefore “they’re” is correct. The rock they are on.

    Mark, as a certified English teacher didn’t you ever tell your students it is not correct usage to end a sentence with a preposition? Of course when someone said the same thing to Winston Churchill (a distant relative of mine [Google “Phamous Philbrick’s] to discover some others) he replied that it was an “impertinence up with which I will not put.”

    And Bill, spellcheck…possive.

    http://www.better-english.com/easier/theyre.htm

  4. Haha!
    Please allow me to rephrase.
    “The creatures look so life-like, just ready to crawl off that “rock” upon which THEY ARE perched.”

    One thing I neglected to mention to Bill, though Richard already knew this relevant fact. I was born, raised and “edjucated” in Kentucky. I graduated college with that secondary teaching certificate in English and sociology in 1983, and began teaching English full-time in the fall of that year at a small, rural junior high school. Teaching English in a small rural high school in KY is essentially equivalent to teaching “English as a Second Language”. Maybe an example of a typical Kentucky phrase will help: “I figured I’d help ya pack your thangs to the car if’n ya’ll are fixin’ to take off.”
    Tu comprehendes?

    Bill, don’t you know that there is no RE-certification for English teachers in Kentucky? The credentialing entities here are just grateful that a few people can earn English teaching certification ONCE; they don’t want to risk having a lesser number of certified English teachers by requiring a RE-certification. They know that teaching English in Kentucky is about as successful as Weight Watchers in Mississippi, the obesity capitol of the country.

    In retrospect, maybe that is why I returned to the university, earned a graduate degree, and switched to becoming a psychologist, perhaps unconsciously realizing that working with crazy people would be easier.

    However, for the record, having studied not only traditional grammar, but structural and transformational grammar as well, it is not always accurate that ending a sentence with a preposition is incorrect usage. To quote from a couple of Internet sources:
    1. “That rule is a vestige of what is known as prescriptive grammar. The last 4 decades have produced a more scientifically oriented grammar known as descriptive grammar.”
    2. “To summarize, don’t end a sentence with prepositions that are unnecessary or cause clumsy or confusing phrases. On the other hand, leave the preposition at the end of the sentence if the alternative is a more awkward sentence. Remember that in conversational American-English, you can get away with “at” and “for” dangling at the end of a statement, but discerning scholars worldwide may note the outrage upon the language in these cases.”

    I just knew I would be further scrutinized if I corrected myself openly on this blog. :-)

    Here’s one more smirky quote from the Internet:
    “Not ending a sentence with a preposition is a rule of traditional grammar that we are all familiar with.”

    All kidding aside… Richard, I’m enjoying the blog, and your emails and pictures from and about Panama. As soon as I complete these damnable tax forms and a few other incomplete projects, I have full intentions of securing passports for me and the Mrs. She and I need to start working on our retirement plans…

  5. Captmrbill

    Richard and Mark,

    I apologize if I rustled anyones feathers. For the life of me, I have no idea where the their or the they’re you all are referring to is located.

    The only their I saw was I LOVE THEIR TAGUA NUT CARVINGS.

    I have taught EFL in Spain. I would imagine it would be apropos as well in Kentucky. LOL

    • Mark

      No, Captmrbill, no feathers rustled here. I was just playfully replying. Richard’s more versed in my idiosyncratic sense of humor, and he and I used to sit around the apartment often making fun of stupid-speaking people. Of course, as a Kentuckian, I knew far more examples of (including some family members) folks who routinely slaughter the English language, whether speaking it or writing it.

  6. oldsalt1942

    The comments regarding this post are now officially over. ‘Nuff said.