Blouse panel

This mola, which means “cloth” in the Kuna language, features a two-headed beast – half bird and half jaguar – accompanied by a smaller crocodile-like animal. Mola imagery is inspired by traditional Kuna symbols and stories, and by imported popular culture through books and advertisements. Used as decorative blouse panels, molas are hand-sewn using a reverse-appliqué technique.


Collection Connections 

  • Blouse

    Blouse

    North America: Central America, Panama, San Blas Islands

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  • Blouse Panel

    Blouse Panel

    North America: Central America, Panama, San Blas Islands

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  • Blouse Panel

    Blouse Panel

    North America: Central America, Panama, San Blas Islands

    View More 
  • Blouse Panel

    Blouse Panel

    North America: Central America, Panama: San Blas Islands

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How have mola panel designs changed over time?

responded: Jul 6, 2012

Posted by Charlotte H

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Molas have developed over time and evolved with fashion trends and newly avaliable materials. Interestingly, Kuna women initially would have thier bodies painted with these colourful geometric symbols. The colours used as body paint came from all nautral resources. Later on these symbols were then stichted onto cotton fabrics and made into blouses. Molas reflect a combination of tradtional Kuna culture and influences of the modern world. It is only natural that their desgins and techniques are bound to evolve along with the mordern world. More recently, Molas have been inspired by modern imagery, for example; posters, labels, pictures from books and TV cartoons. Yet, there are many Mola that still represent Kuna culture, tradtions and myths. These changes began to appear in the early 1900s. Even the blouses that the Molas are attached to changed along with fashion trends. It became popular to wear wrapped shirts, making the blouse appear shorter an exposing more of their skirt. Also, the sleeves began to vary between all white and high decorative patterns. Traditional colour choice began to narrow down when only utilizing black, orange and red became highly popular. Even figures and objects became more abstract and stylized. However, the geometric theme was still present and there had become a hightened line composition that made all of the colours equally dominating. The images attched are Molas that vary in depicting daily life scenes and simple geometric shapes. (Photos; www.identitycolumbianart.worldpress.com & www.fellow-traveller.org)

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