Labyrinth Mola Pillow
From the San Blas islands in Panama, this vintage piece of abstract Mola applique is truly a rare and storied find! While mola (MO-la) means blouse in the Kona language, the art form actually has its origins in body painting. Before Spanish missionaries arrived in Panama the Kona tribe women would elaborately paint their bodies with geometric designs and labyrinths, but with westernization and missionary pressures they translated these designs into their clothes still defiantly holding onto their cultural identity. Over the years the abstract patterns evolved to incorporate imagery from nature, including little animals embedded into the mazes or emerging from the folds.
The designs are just as involved as the technique itself; several layers of colorful fabric (ranging from 2 to 7 layers) are sewn together and then the layers are revealed as each one is cut back and “blind” stitches pin down the layers to reveal a complex composition.
Zig-zagging patterns loop through the bends, turns and corners of this labyrinth creating a vibrational movement - place it on any chair or couch and voila! you've animated your room! Get ready to be mesmerized by this little gem.
Made in Charleston, SC from vintage Panamanian textile
Cotton with linen back; feather/down insert, zipper close
16" L x 12" H x 2" D