Indiana University Indiana University IU

Culture Gunadule
Title Mola (Mola)
Date 20th century
Medium Cotton
Dimensions Object: 20 × 16 1/2 in. (50.8 × 41.9 cm)
Overall: 20 × 16 1/2 in. (50.8 × 41.9 cm)
Credit Line Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 72.47.2

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About this Work

The geometries in molas were originally a practice of body decoration that evolved into a textile tradition due to colonization. Gunadule women, who are experts in the tradition of molas, create these designs using techniques found in sacred places called galus, which exist in different layers of the universe. Mola designs are divided into two main styles, naga and goaniggadi. This cloth reflects the naga style that has abstract designs that represent elements of nature and use geometric shapes.

1972, Indiana University Art Museum purchase from F. Louis Hoover, Normal, IL

ca. 1940–72, F. Louis Hoover and Lucille Hoover acquire in San Blas Islands, Panama [1]

Unidentified dates, unidentified owner(s), possibly in Gunadule culture, Carti Tupile Island (San Blas Islands), and/or other places [2]

[1] Per documentation from F. Louis Hoover (Eskenazi Museum, curatorial file). F. Louis Hoover was head of the department of Art at Illinois State University from 1944–68.

[2] We do not yet know how many changes in ownership transpired between when this artwork was initially made and owned to when F. Louis Hoover acquired it. Hoover’s records state that this work is from Carti Tupile Island in the San Blas Islands of Panama. This absence of documentation on ownership history within Gunadule culture where textiles like this one were made and used is part of a larger history of collecting practices.

Provenance research is ongoing for this and many other items in the Eskenazi Museum of Art permanent collection. For more information about the provenance of this artwork, please contact the department curator with specific questions.

August 26, 2023–February 18, 2024, “Textile Heritage in Central and South America,” Focus Gallery Exhibition, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

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Cite this Page
"Mola | Collections Online." Collections Online. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 2024.