- Tribe: Kuba
- Origin: DMC
- Approx Age: Late 20th Century
- Materials: Raffia
- Dimensions cm: 70 x 62
- Ref. Number: 0877
Stunning Kuba Textile showing all the lovely geometric shapes and patterns we have become accustom to seeing from such truly fascinating works of Kuba art. Textile making 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 fibers, inserting them into a needle running the needle through the cloth until the fibers show up on the opposite end. They then take a knife and cut off the top of the fibers, 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. When Kuba cloth originated there were probably no patches used, but as the cloth is brittle it is quite likely that the patches were used to repair the frequent tears. Producing such intricate and complex works of stunning Kuba art passing the skill and technic’s down from one generation to another. The more intricate and exuberant the designs are made for the royalty, nobility and chiefdom.