Central America, Panama, San Blas Islands, Kuna/Cuna, ca. 1950 CE. A finely crafted example of this folk art form created by the Kuna / Cuna Native American women artisans of Panama, and from the world's finest collection of molas, depicting a vampire bat or chupa de sangre (literal translation being sucks blood) with outspread wings, upraised claws, and an up-to-no-good visage comprised of wide eyes a fang-filled grin. The mola is comprised of many layers of fabric in brilliant hues of orange, red, black, blue, pink, lavender, green, white, and yellow with topstitched embroidery in colorful threads detailing the face and claws. According to Parker and Neal, "Bats, the familiar murcielagos or raton viejos of Latin-American life and literature, are well known in San Blas and are often used creatively in folktales and on molas. At night tiny oil lamps are kept burning in Cuna huts to prevent the evil chupa de sangre or vampire bat from entering and attacking the occupants." (Ann Parker and Avon Neal, "Molas: Folk Art of the Cuna Indians" New York: Crown Publishing, p. 87) Quite an impressive example, replete with superb artistry, technique, and highly symbolic iconography. Size: 18" W x 16" H (45.7 cm x 40.6 cm)
We are honored to present a selection of molas from the important Kit Kapp collection. According to Tom Hannaher in his text from a debut exhibition of Kuna Molas from the Kit Kapp collection, "Between 1963 and 1971, Kitt Kapp and his wife Valerie conducted over 35 expeditions of the San Blas Islands, as well as remote Kuna villages in Colombia and along the Bayano River in the Darien Peninsula of Panama. Kit's book, Mola Art of the San Blas Islands, was one of the first publications to treat molas as an art form." (Molas from the Collection of Kit Kapp," by Tom Hannaher, 2008)
The folk craft of creating molas began about 125 years ago when the Kunas moved from the mainland to the islands. In their new environment, cooler nights necessitated warmer clothing. At first, women created blouses adorned with simple applique borders, but as time went on, they increased the scale of the decorative areas until the entire front and back panels were comprised of multi-layered, quilted textile designs. This distinctive art form has evolved into a tradition of exceptionally fine needlework and meaningful symbolism.
Provenance: Ex-Kit Kapp collection formed in the very early 1970's. Mr. Kapp acquired the world's largest and best documented collection of Molas, with numerous examples being published.p
All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.
A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all winning bids.
We ship worldwide and handle all shipping in-house for your convenience. Learn More