Large Burgundy and Lime Green Mola Placemat Maximize

Large Burgundy and Lime Green Mola Placemat

Molas area an exquisite textile artform practiced for centuries by the indigenous tribes of the Caribbean.

16 x 12 inches

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Molas are a type of highly designed multi-layered applique textile created by the Kuna Indian tribes of Panama. The Kuna live in the 365 San Blas Islands in the Caribbean Sea.


“Mola” in Dulegaya, the native Kuna language, means shirt or clothing, however the origin of the mola is not rooted in clothing, just the opposite, in fact. Originally, Kuna Indians did not wear clothing, instead, they painted their bodies using natural ochers and pigments, decorating themselves in elaborate geometric designs. When the Spanish landed in Panama in the 16th century, along with missionaries and European customs, the Kuna were encouraged to clothe themselves, and so transferred their patterns to cotton. In the past 100 years, or so, as fabric has become more accessible to the Kuna, the production of textile molas has boomed in Panama.


Molas are intricately designed and sewn onto the front and back of Kuna women’s clothing. Each one created and worn is seen in the tribe as an extremely personal form of expression and identity.  Created with two, or more, layers of cloth decorated with elaborate designs cut into the fabric to reveal a layer beneath, molas are colorful and personal forms of .


The patterns used in mola design range from abstract to narrative and come in all colors and sizes. Molas are usually sold as individual panels, allowing you freedom in how you use them. However, we have found artisans who have taken the guesswork out of it for you and have created their own products based on original mola designs. For those with a creative streak, we also sell the panels themselves that can be sewn into pillow cases, placemats, quilts clothing or simply framed and hung on the wall to enjoy every day.