FEATURED STORY ON 𝗕𝗢𝗗𝗪 𝗖𝗶𝘁𝘆𝗣𝗿𝗼𝗴設計營商周城區活動panamaconsulate February 7, 2023 0 COMMENTS
#WorldDesignMapper #巴拿馬 傳統手工紡織品Mola：方寸之間刺繡出自然之美
#WorldDesignMapper #Panama Mola: A Traditional Hand-made Textile Inspired by Nature
Many travellers love to dress in another culture’s clothing and wander around the city for the ultimate local experience. To the locals, traditional clothing means a lot more as it carries a culture’s heritage, pride and tradition in its own way.
The ‘Mola’ is a traditional hand-made textile in Panama, formed by several layers of different-coloured cloth. Using stitching and appliqué techniques, geometric designs and patterns are beautifully created. The Mola originated with the indigenous Guna people, with the tradition of painting their bodies with geometric designs using natural colours from trees and plants in the forest. At one time, the Guna people believed that the body painting could protect them from insects and evil spirits. Later, the Guna moved to the coast, and fabrics became popular materials due to climate change and trade relations with the West. Hence, in the late 19th century, the Guna women started to transfer their traditional geometric designs on fabric, and they have worn Mola garments until today.
The Guna women inherit the precious traditional handcraft from their mothers. Using the technique of ‘reverse appliqué’, two or more layers of coloured cloth are sewn together, and the patterns are formed by cutting away parts of the top layer, revealing the colours beneath in successive layers. The edges of the layers are then sewn down with tiny needles. The process is repeated until the final work is finished, and it usually takes two weeks to a month to complete each work. Traditional Molas usually feature animals, plants and religious elements, as time goes by, some even depict cartoon characters nowadays.
Want to dress up in the beautiful Molas and immerse yourself in the Guna culture? You may be disappointed to learn that Mola garments are not sold to tourists as only Guna women can wear them. But the good news is that Mola decorations are available in stores run by the Gunas in Panama, which might be the best souvenirs you can get!
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