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This item sold on May 22, 2015.

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Dimensions: 17"x 12"

Note: This mola has been worn.

Click on the zoom options for larger images.

How to read Molas:
Molas are made by the Kuna women, Indians who live in the San Blas Islands off the coast of Panama. Kuna lived on the mainland in 1513 when Spanish explorer Vasco de Balboa first crossed the isthmus. A famous battle was fought on a beach known as Waka Nono, of the place of the Strangers’ Heads, where the Kuna killed hundreds of Spaniards. They cut off the heads and threw them into the sea, and molas are still made of this event. About 1850, the Kuna got into their cayugos (dugout canoes) to escape the Spaniards’ descendants, the criollos, and landed on the San Blas Islands. Kuna men still paddle back to the mainland every day to tend their fields, and bring water and wood back to the Islands at night.
Kuna have three caciques (chieftains), and each island has its own sahilas\/leaders. They meet in congress halls, lie down in hammocks, smoke pipes, and chant all night in a language not understood. The argars\/speakers sit next to the hammocks and interpret the sahila’s words.
The children go to school on the main islands. These schools are built with cement blocks, while homes are palm-thatched wooden huts.
Kuna men also tend coconut plantations on the islands as well as fish for food or to sell sharks and manta rays (devilfish). Kuna women stay at home to seep the sand floors of their wooden huts, fetch the water brought to the pier by the men, and feed the family pig. They mash plantain bananas that are grown on the mainland by the men, after the plantains have been peeled and boiled in water. Cooking is done in a separate hut called a sokakka. Cooking pots rest on three stones within a large log fire kept alive by fanning. Fish are cooked on a grill.
A young woman’s husband is kidnapped by both of the relatives and brought to the girl’s home, where they then live. Property is passed to children by their mothers.
Kuna celebrate Earth Day (El Dia de la Madre, Mother’s Day) in December by cooking special meals for the children. Kuna girls are considered special because they bring money and respect to their families by making molas.
Molas are made of layers of rectangular pieces of fabric of different colors sewn together. Master mola maker Ermelinda Hernandex of the island of Carti Mulatupo has taken as long as a year to complete her most beautiful molas, such as Noah’s Ark.
The Kuna say that babies are brought to the world on the backs of great birds. In many stories, animals act like human beings. Kuna legend tells of a gigantic flood, as in the Bible. The Kuna’s Noah was named Aiban, and he saved rain forest animals such as parrots, frogs, land tortoises and wild pigs.
Kuna women wear their best molas on special occasions such as Inna feast which celebrates the maturing of a girl. They gather at the congress hall and rink a strong liquor called chichi fuerte in Spanish and inna in Kuna, made with fermented sugarcane juice and corn. During this feast known as Innamutiki, they dance in circles around professional singers called kantules, who chant sacred verses and play panpipes and gourd rattles. When ready to marry, the Kuna girl cuts her hair short, and the Inna ceremony continues for 5 days and nights.
These panels can be framed as they are or incorporated into larger sewing projects.
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Mola Textile, Abstract- Native Kuna Indian Reverse Applique Fish 11


Overview

  • Material: cotton
  • Ships worldwide from United States
  • Feedback: 30 reviews
  • Favorited by: 7 people