Sunday, May 01, 2011

Molas and Vanuncio

The Kuna Indians are famous for their bright molas, a colourful textile art form made with the techniques of appliqué and reverse appliqué.  Mola panels are used to make the blouses of the Kuna women's national dress.  The quality of the molas vary greatly based upon number of layers, size of stitches and design.  Every day that we anchored at least one mola seller (mostly women) would come alongside in their canoe hoping to sell their work.  

There are also famous mola makers who dedicate their lives to making molas and are well known within the community.  Vanuncio was one of those artists and he came alongside one sunny afternoon (let’s face it,  it was always sunny there) to show us his life’s work.  I’d purchased a couple of ‘unsigned’  molas but had heard about Vanuncio from another cruiser and was anxious to see his work.  Deana, Marta and Mike came over and we spent the better part of two hours first admiring and then negotiating with him.  He drove a hard bargain and we departed ways feeling a little frustrated with the process but as the happy owners of a couple of absolutely beautiful signed Vanuncio molas.   

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