Central America, Panama, Kuna, ca. 1950s to 1960s CE. A striking, colorful mola depicting two weathervanes labeled with the cardinal directions and topped by avian/zoomorphic creatures perched upon arrows. Additional endearing animals occupy the field. The mola is comprised of several layers of fabrics in hues of vibrant cherry red, sunny yellow, kelly green, royal blue, orange, pink, sky blue, aqua, spring green, black, and white as well as multi-colored patterned fabrics. Size (mola): 16.625" W x 13.5" H (42.2 cm x 34.3 cm); (frame): 19.625" W x 16.6" H (49.8 cm x 42.2 cm)
The folk craft of creating molas began about 125 years ago when the Kuna peoples moved from the mainland to the islands of Panama. In their new environment, cooler nights necessitated warmer clothing. At first, women created blouses adorned with simple applique borders, but as time went on, they amplified their decorative handiwork until the entire front and back panels were comprised of multi-layered textile designs. Eventually, the Kuna textile techniques were used to create works of art like this example. This distinctive art form has evolved into a tradition of exceptionally fine needlework and cherished regional iconography.
Provenance: private Orange County, California, USA collection acquired before 2000
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Minor fraying to some interior fibers, otherwise intact and very good. Vibrant coloration and eye-catching iconography throughout.