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About *Molagirl* molas, molitas & gifts

The molas, molitas and mola gifts I offer in my shop come from the Kuna people of the San Blas islands. They end up in my store through several means. I offer pieces that range from learner's work through to the exquisite. My emphasis is on the "superb" and "exquisite", highest end of the mola quality gamut.

That written, through all the ways items in my store come to be in my store and whatever their mola "quality", there is -- still and always -- a single, strong, common thread running through every piece I offer for sale. The acquisition, display, description and handling of every single "thing" has to reflect my unwavering respect for and love of both the Kuna and the art of the mola. This is what makes something a *Molagirl* mola (or molita or patch or gift... )

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The San Blas Islands of Panama

Panama

Panama is a country located on the narrowest and lowest part of the Isthmus of Panama that links North and South America. It borders two countries, Costa Rica and Columbia, and is divided into nine provinces and three independent territories. One of these territories is the "Comarca de Kuna Yala", originally established under the name of "San Blas".

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The Kuna

the Kuna

the Kuna

"Kuna" is the name of an indigenous people of Panama and Colombia whose population is estimated at about 53,000. Although sometimes also spelled "Cuna", the spelling "Kuna" is preferred. In the Kuna language, the name is "Dule" or "Tule", meaning "people."

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What is a Mola?

a mola

a mola blouse

Mola is the word for "clothing" in the Kuna language of the Kuna people living off the northern coast of Panama on the San Blas islands. It is the most famous form of art produced in Panama. Molas are incorporated into a woman’s clothing, usually with one panel on the front of the blouse and a matching or related one on the back.

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What determines the quality of a mola?

Creating designs in fabric using the techniques of the mola is both a learned skill and a creative talent. And, not all mola makers are equal on either or both of these planes. A beautifully executed mola can be lacking in design just as a beautifully designed mola can show signs of a beginner's skill. To that end here is how I discern, determine and describe the quality of molas, molitas and mola gifts...

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Kuna Artifacts

Kuna art extends beyond the mola. Whether used in daily or ceremonial life, whether used as decoration and adornment or in building, storage, music-making, play, prayer and locomotion, the artifacts of Kuna weaving, carving, painting and beading give sense to the expression "the art of being Kuna".

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