Made by the Kuna women of the San Blas Islands of Panama, this colorful mola would have formed part of a woman’s blouse. Using a reverse appliqué process, several layers of cloth are cut away starting with the top layer to reveal the colors of the fabric below. The resulting pattern often is embellished with embroidery stitches and patchwork. In this particular mola, the central motif is a human figure, a shaman perhaps, astride a large, bird-like creature with human eyes and square teeth. The shaman controls the fearsome creature using reins and a bit. Rickrack trim is applied to the creature’s tail feathers rather than using the time consuming reverse appliqué method to make zigzag lines. Additional details include two smaller shamans riding hybrid creatures, small animals and a directional arrow with indecipherable text.
This object was
Miss Marion Miller.
It is credited
Gift of Marion Miller.
Its dimensions are
H x W: 39 x 47 cm (15 3/8 x 18 1/2 in.)
Cite this object as
Mola (Panama); cotton; H x W: 39 x 47 cm (15 3/8 x 18 1/2 in.); Gift of Marion Miller; 1969-14-1