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Molas and Molitas

Molas are the brightly colored applique panels made only in the San Blas region of Panama by the Kuna Indians.  Despite their limited provenance, these dazzling textiles have interested collectors and inspired artists all over the world.

The Kuna women observe the world around them and stitch into the molas a wide variety of applique designs - from natural flora and fauna to manmade products of the modern age.  Other contemporary artists of all persuasions observe molas and then adapt mola design in their own ways, from paper collage and stencil patterns to wearable art and home decorating items.

The Kuna Indians live on 50 or so of the more than 365 San Blas islands off the east coast of Panama.  Some also live on a narrow mainland strip and in small towns across the South American border in Columbia.  These combined mainland and island areas of Panama comprise the Comarca de Kuna Yala, or Kuna territory, and this is where the world's molas are made.

Click Here to View our Selection of Molas

Bibliography

Mathews, Kate. Molas - Patterns, Techniques, Projects for Colorful Applique (North Carolina: Lark Books, 1998).

Aztecs | Day of the Dead | Mayan | Molas | Olmec | Pre Columbian