Collections in this community

  • Kuna Molas

    Sewn Stories and the Interplay of Tradition and Change

Recent Submissions

  • Reverse appliqué items for sale to tourists 

    Contributor:Cheney, Joyce
    Date Created:undated
    Savvy Kuna seamstresses know that the market for mola blouses and panels is limited, so they are applying their traditional of reverse appliqué techniques to other garments and objects. Quality of these trade items varies greatly
  • Snail's path (traditional design). 

    Contributor:Cheney, Joyce; De la Ossa, Marianna
    Date Created:1998
    A blouse made and worn by Marianna de la Ossa
  • Old-Style Mola 

    Contributor:Cheney, Joyce
    Date Created:1920s
    This panel was sewn when mola blouses were loose, sewing was often less refined, and embroidery was less significant to designs
  • Beaded leg bands 

    Contributor:Cheney, Joyce
    Date Created:undated
    Two wini leg bands
  • Sea Urchins (Traditional Design) 

    Contributor:Cheney, Joyce; De la Ossa, Marianna
    Date Created:1998
    A blouse made and worn by Marianna de la Ossa
  • Bead necklace 

    Contributor:Cheney, Joyce
    Date Created:1998
    A detailed image of a yellow ceramic bead necklace
  • Healer or Village Leader's Staff 

    Contributor:Cheney, Joyce
    Date Created:20th Century
    Detail of the head of the Healer or Village Leader's staff
  • Machine Stitched 

    Contributor:Cheney, Joyce
    Date Created:1960s-1970s
    Two groups of swirls in yellow and brown, on a gray background
  • Healer (commissioned trade copy of earlier design) 

    Contributor:Cheney, Joyce; Morris, Meheina
    Date Created:1999
    The sick person is in a hammock inside a house with thatched roof and vertical cane walls. Clothing is stored by hanging it from the rafters. As part of their healing practices, the healers are smoking pipes and burning ...
  • Funeral Trade Mola (commissioned trade copy of earlier design) 

    Contributor:Cheney, Joyce; Misselis, Marvel
    Date Created:1999
    The deceased is in a hammock that is connected by a thread to a small, carved canoe. The deceased’s spirit travels on the thread to the canoe and then floats to the spirit world. Mourners sit on low wooden stools. Cocoa ...
  • Funeral Trade Mola - Detail 

    Contributor:Cheney, Joyce; Misselis, Marvel
    Date Created:1999
    A detailed section of the Funeral Trade Mola
  • Bautista Misionera Union Femenil (Women’s Association of the Baptist Mission) - Detail 

    Contributor:Cheney, Joyce
    Date Created:1990s
    A detailed section of the Bautista Misionera Union Femenil mola, showing the stitching
  • Bautista Misionera Union Femenil (Women’s Association of the Baptist Mission) 

    Contributor:Cheney, Joyce
    Date Created:1990s
    Design includes the name of the association
  • Print Cloth Grid Trade Mola 

    Contributor:Cheney, Joyce
    Date Created:1990s
    This is an example of a late-1990’s trend to create molas by adding minimal appliqué work to printed background cloth
  • Crucifixion 

    Contributor:Cheney, Joyce
    Date Created:1970s
    The designer of this mola followed a common practice of using black to indicate death. The background fill pattern is unusual
  • Woman Sewing a Mola 

    Contributor:Cheney, Joyce
    Date Created:1990s
    Woman sitting in a chair sewing a mola
  • Boat Race 

    Contributor:Cheney, Joyce
    Date Created:1970-1980s
    Boats bearing the names of different islands compete in a race
  • Neon Colors 

    Contributor:Cheney, Joyce
    Date Created:1980s
    The fine lines and points, repeating patterns and use of letters and numbers as shapes are all design elements common to molas that women make for their own wear, while the neon colors are usually used for trade molas. ...
  • Basketball: Child-Sized Panel 

    Contributor:Cheney, Joyce
    Date Created:1980s
    Basketball is very popular among Kuna men. Some young women enjoy the sport, as well.
  • Fisherman Trade Mola - Detail 4 

    Contributor:Cheney, Joyce
    Date Created:1980s
    A close look at the rows of fabric stitched onto a portion of the Fisherman Trade Mola

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