The Kuna Heritage

Panama’s Creative
Indian population

One of six main indigenous Indian populations in Panama originally from Columbia, the Kuna has carved out a significant presence in Panama. The Kuna is a very distinct indigenous group.

They control large areas of land or Comarcas (including San Blas), have a heavy political influence in Panama as well as creative and very sought after “Mola” handicrafts for which they are world renowned.

“Mola” Culture

Molas are made from applique and reversed applique patterns combined with very fine stitching.

The designs originated from body paintings, but when the missionaries arrived in Central America, they persuaded the Kuna to cover-up their bodies with clothing. The Kuna cleverly transformed the beautiful body paintings into hand-stitched clothing or Molas.

The traditional Molas mostly depict animals, fish, birds, plants and wildlife, but Mola artistry can also portray historical, political and other narratives including influences from modern day western life.

Giving Back

Due to it’s striking beauty and authentic representation of the true Panama, it is easy to see why we have adopted the lively Mola as our signature packaging for our coffee.

Zancona are very proud of their 10 year agreement with the General Congress Kuna, for the honor of using their Mola artwork and are one of only two companies that have the agreement.

Through this agreement, Zancona Coffee provides the Indigenous people of the Kuna Yala with royalties from the sale of each bag of coffee. These royalties contribute to community development, education and nutrition programs.

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