MOLAS — NEW

When you go to each individual mola page, please scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the mola. Our website program is placing them low on the page.

Molas come from the San Blas islands off the coast of Panama. They are used in the Kuna women’s native dress. The women’s blouse is made from a pair of very similar molas, one on the front and one on the back. The technique is called reverse appliqué and the complex designs are famous. A stack of rectangular pieces of cloth, preferably cotton, and of different colors is made first. Then the artist cuts down to the layer of color she wishes to expose in the design and turns under and stitches down the layers above so as to show that color. In a layered color design, each layer is turned under a slightly larger amount until all of the colors in the stack are visible. This technique requires skill and fine, precise, invisible stitching. Some pieces are ornamented with embroidery on the surface.

There are two groups of molas on our website. This first group (marked NEW) is in perfect condition and was made for sale to people outside the Kuna (San Blas Islands) culture.