Kuba Shoowa Textile

  • Tribe: Kuba
  • Origin: DRC
  • Approx Age: Late 20th Century
  • Materials: Raffia
  • Dimensions cm: 63 x 62
  • Ref. Number: 0882
£65.00

Lovely captivating Kuba Shoowa textile from Democratic Republic of Congo. With all the wonderful geometric patterns and design so very typical of these beautiful works of art from the Kuba people.

Image result for kuba cloth making
A typical house in the dense vegetation in Democratic Republic of Congo

 

The art of making Kuba cloth is very time consuming and can take several days to form a small piece. The men first gather the leaves of the raffia tree and then dye it using mud, indigo or substances from the cam wood tree. They then rub the raffia fibers in their hands to soften it and make it easier for weaving. After they’ve completed the base cloth the women embroider it. They do this by pulling a few threads of the raffia fibres, inserting them into a needle running the needle through the cloth until the fibres show up on the opposite end. They then take a knife and cut off the top of the fibres, leaving only a little bit showing. Doing this hundreds of times forms a design. The designs are seldom planned out ahead of time, and most of the embroidery is done by memory. There are several different sub groups of the Kuba people. Each group has different and unique ways to make the fabric. Some make it thicker, longer, shorter, or with different patches. Each patch is symbolic and many times a piece has many different meanings.