|Kuba people in the Republic of the
Congo have made intricately embroidered ritual cloths of raffia. Men weave the plain-weave
ground fabrics on simple vertical looms, then women ornament these
textiles with imaginative
geometric patterning. Cut-loop pile forms the majority of the designs in
these outstanding pieces of African textile art sometimes called "Kasai
velvets"; flat stem-stitch embroidery is used between pile areas for contrast. Some
of the pieces display a "patchwork" appearance; this
is a design feature, as they are NOT fragments stitched
pieces on these pages are thought to be 40 to 60 years old, and
they are in good condition unless otherwise noted. They were
used for decoration, for funeral offerings, for tribute, and sometimes as
currency, or Mbal.
For other Sub-Saharan pieces go to
Textiles. To see textile art from other parts of the
world, go to our HOME
NOTE: Click on the
inventory numbers below for larger photos of
Kuba raffia cloth weaver in the Congo.
Photo from Roy Sieber's African Textiles and Decorative Arts,
New York, 1972.