April 13, 2011

⋱⋮⋰⋱⋮⋰ Kuna Indians of Panama ⋱⋮⋰⋱⋮⋰

Molas have their origin in the body painting. Only after the colonization by the Spanish and contact with missionaries the Kuna started to transfer their traditional geometric designs on fabric, first by painting directly on the fabric and later by using the technique of reverse application. It is not known for certain when this technique was first used. It is assumed that the oldest molas are between 150 and 170 years old.
As an inspiration for their designs, the Kuna first used the geometrical patterns which have been used for body painting before. In the past 50 years, they also started to depict realistic and abstract designs of flowers, sea animals and birds.

  Mola art from San Blas Islands
   Spiritual Path
   100 Feet


  1. Those women are so beautiful! And their native clothing is amazing!!

  2. The patterns are unbelievable. I wonder where they get their inspirations. Patterns on reptiles and birds?

  3. This is what i've gathered from different website sources:

    The Kuna create their mola artistry by drawing on ideas or narratives from their history, culture and beliefs. They usually portray birds, fish, family life, spirits and cultural designs, and their contemporary molas may include airplanes and warships, biblical themes, cartoon characters, national emblems or commercial ads. Although their traditional forms often utilize patterns from body painting, more recently they also incorporate styles from classical European and western art as well.