El único Panamá - Week 40
Welcome to our weekly series about the uniqueness of Panama!
Molas are unique handcrafted pieces of artwork that form part of the traditional women's clothing of the Guna people of Panama.
In the Guna's native language, "mola" means "shirt" or "clothing". The mola originated with the tradition of Guna women painting their bodies with geometric designs. In later years these same designs were woven in cotton.
The quality of a mola is determined by factors such as;
- the number of layers
- fineness of the stitching
- evenness and width of cutouts
- addition of details such as zigzag borders, lattice-work or embroidery
- general artistic merit of the design and color combination
Molas purchased by US citizens and tourist are found in many museum collections around the world.
Today, these beautiful pieces of art can be found on almost anything from T-shirts, purses, hotpads, and even shoes!