The women joined in having (temporary) "nose tattoos" applied while they were in Panama. The Indians ascribe to the custom that the larger the nose, the more attractive the woman, and these marks would call attention to the nose.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Our August program was provided by Therese Springer from Diamondhead and Sharon Pease from Saucier, who are avid Mola collectors. They showed us pieces they had purchased on two trips to visit the Kuna Indians on San Blas Island off the coast of Panama. They explained that the word "mola" actually refers to a blouse which contains an applique/embroidered panel on the front and the back but that we commonly refer to the stitched panels as "molas." They described how the makers would strive to make the chanels as small and uniform as they could, with the entire surface evenly covered, and this was the mark of a good piece rather than a "tourist" piece. The children are taught to sew beginning about age three. There is little electricity on the island, and only for the hotels and other tourist spots, furnished by generators. Although the molas are hand-stitched, some joining seams are by machine on hand-crank Singer sewing machines, and the children turn the wheel for the mother.