Traditional Kuna Mola, Panama

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About

The mola forms part of the traditional costume of a Kuna woman, with two mola panels incorporated as front and back sections of a blouse. In the Kuna people's native language, "mola" is used interchangably as "clothing" or sometimes "shirt".

This finely-woven example with an abstract Eagle or phoenix design in a warm palette. Would make a lovely addition to a collection, or as an decorative alternative to modern art in a home.

Dimensions available on request.

The Mola:

Originated with the tradition of Kuna women painting their bodies with geometrical designs, using available natural pigments; in later years these same designs were woven using a reverse-appliqué technique in cotton, and later still, sewn using cloth bought from the European settlers of Panama.

A greater number of layers is generally a good sign of high quality. The quality of stitching is also a factor, with the stitching on the best molas being close to invisible as with this example. A mola would generally take anywhere from two weeks up to six months to make, depending on the complexity of the design.

With gallery label on reverse from Zoe Starr. Zoe Starr was a noted NY dealer of indigenous American works during the 1970's.
Details
Of the Period
Other Period
Place of Origin
Panama
Date of Manufacture
circa 1900
Period
20th Century
Materials and Techniques
Woven dyed cotton
Condition
Good. Wear as pictured around the edges. Molas will often be found for sale with signs of use, such as stitch marks around the edges. While too much wear is obviously detrimental to value, slight wear is an encouraging sign, indicating that the mola was made for use, and not simply for sale to tourists..
Wear
Wear consistent with age and use
Dealer Location
NYC, NY
Number of Items
1
Reference Number
U0906268076936
Address
DRAKE
526 W 26TH ST SUITE 6AA
NYC NY 10001
US
(646) 832-4080
1stdibs Dealer since 2005 Located in NYC, NY
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