Vintage Mola Textile 30, Percussion- Native Kuna Indian Reverse Applique
Vintage mola from the Kuna, maracas with pink background. Reverse applique, folk art motif. Percussion instrument.
This is a vintage mola, a festive celebration of maracas and music!
Dimensions: 17″x 12.5″ Metric: 43 x 31 cm
Note: This mola has been worn. The Kuna Indians of the San Blas Islands make exquisite textiles like this one, called a mola. The panels are used to decorate their blouses, normally one in the front and one in back. They were originally inspired by traditional motifs from their body art and Kuna legend, but later went on to incorporate images from daily life, including the mass media. The Kuna are found in Panama and Colombia. The women continue to wear molas and being skilled in the craft is honored among them. It has also become an important source of income for them through tourism and collectors. There are many “factories” that imitate molas and cater only to tourism. My supplier lived in Panama for 17 years and has a mola addiction. The technique is exquisite and the color choices are often pretty wild.
Molas are made by combining cut-work or reverse appliqué and regular appliqué. Reverse appliqué is the process of cutting into a background fabric to expose that color of fabric, while the best known form of appliqué adds fabric to the top of another piece for contrast. The Kuna use both, cutting back and adding on top. They accent the design with embroidery. A mola appreciates in value depending on how old it is, if it was used by a Kuna woman as part of a blouse, how tiny the stitches are, how many layers of fabric were used for cut-work, and for the overall design of the piece. Similar techniques are used in traditional Hawaiian quilts, by the Sindhi people in Pakistan, by the Hmong in Thailand and around the world. But, each culture has translated the technique uniquely and the Kuna are undoubtedly the most psychedelic of them all!
These panels can be framed as they are or incorporated into other projects (t-shirts, jean jackets, pillows, purses, quilts). The last photo shows the back so that you can see some of the stitching.
This listing refers you to my shop on Etsy. I’ve been there for a long time and sold on eBay for nine years before that. I will be adding new listings to my shop here on Artizan Made. I also manage shops for Afghan Tribal Arts and Oshiwa Designs. Purchased between the three shops can be shipped together. I will send an invoice for shipping separately if it involves items that don’t fit into a flat rate envelope.
I have loved working with my hands since childhood and have tried many craft techniques, finally settling on the textile arts as my main form of expression. I like pulling bits and pieces together to make a greater whole, assembling textures on to a form. But, my bins of fabric are on hold for now as I recently discovered a new obsession, knitting! We'll see how all of these interests merge together over time... I have also sold supplies and tools that I purchase from traders or find in thrift stores. Textile remnants and printing blocks are two favorites I look for. So you might find these, along with what I make, in my shop.