Molas are colourful panels sewn by the women of the Kuna Indian tribe, who reside here in Panama. Molas are part of traditional costumes worn by Kuna women, four mola panels are formed into the front and back panels of a blouse. In Dulegaya, the Kuna’s native language, “mola” means “shirt” or “clothing”. Traditionally molas depicted the geometric shapes woman traditionally painted on their bodies. Over the last 50 years molas have evolved and now depict everything from wildlife and scenery to political posters. Molas are created by layering between two and seven pieces of fabric together and then cutting back portions of fabric to create a design and reveal the underlying colours. In Kuna culture women who craft intricate and elaborate molas are highly respected. Some molas take up to six months to complete!
Tourism in Panama has boomed in recent years and molas are now readily available for sale all over Panama City. You will have the opportunity to purchase molas when we visit the artisan market on our Panama City Tour and if you are interested in learning more about Kuna culture consider visiting the San Blas Islands, home to the Kuna’s, on our Kuna Yala & San Blas Islands Tour.