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Article

Linda Mowat

Term for a colourful appliqué blouse worn by Kuna Indian women on the mainland and San Blas Islands of Panama and in the Darien region of north-western Colombia. Mola is the Kuna word for cloth, but it also applies to the woman’s blouse and the front and back panels from which it is made. Mola blouses first appeared in the second half of the 19th century. Although made from European trade cloth, they were an indigenous development, and their complex patterns relate to earlier body paint designs.

Mola panels are hand-stitched, using cutwork and appliqué techniques. Two or more layers of different-coloured fabric are used. Each layer is cut to the shape of the design and stitched to the layer beneath, so that motifs may be outlined in a number of colours. Embroidery is sometimes added to the top layer. The stitching is extremely fine, and no fabric is wasted. The front and back panels of a blouse are usually similar, but never the same. Design subjects include mythological patterns, birds, animals, plants, people and scenes from daily life. Advertisements, magazines, political posters and biblical themes often provide inspiration. The finished front and back panels are made up with a yoke and sleeves of plain or printed fabric....

Article

Ramón Alfonso Méndez Brignardello

(b Santiago, 1829; d Valparaíso, 1890).

Chilean architect. His father was unknown and his mother a humble laundress who made great efforts in order to educate her son. He began working for a cabinetmaker at the age of 13 and then joined a drawing class for craftsmen at the Instituto Nacional, Santiago. There were few professional architects in Chile at that time, and he was commissioned at the age of 18 to design the Casa de Orates building. Vivaceta Rupio joined the first architecture class of the Frenchman Claude François Brunet-Debaines (1788–1855), who had been contracted by the Chilean government. His fellow pupil Ricardo Brown and he were the first architects to be trained in Chile. As a result of his assiduity and determination, he was selected by Brunet-Debaines to complete outstanding works when the contract expired. Working in the 19th-century Neo-classical tradition, with some gestures towards the neo-Gothic, Vivaceta Rupio rebuilt the towers of several Santiago churches and built several private houses and the church and convent of Carmen Alto. He contributed to repairs to the cathedral of Santiago and collaborated with ...