Kuba Beaded Belt Adornment
Origin: Kuba Kingdom DRC
Approx Age: Mid 20th Century
Materials: Raffia/Cowrie shells/Coloured glass beads
Dimensions cm: 44 (long)
Ref. Number: 1270
Kuba beaded belt adornment showing a lovely use of both colour and design. A triangular piece of woven raffia/hessian has been used as a base shape onto which the classic Kuba materials have been used to create design and impact. A pattern incorporating light blue, dark blue, black, orange and white glass beads covers most of the triangularly shaped adornment. The use of cowrie shells gives a fringe like finish to the bottom edge with rows of shells breaking up the beaded design which continues throughout the entire belt adornment. Light blue/white glass beads being used alternately edge the fastening strap of this lovely Kuba belt adornment.
The Kuba people live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and are surrounded by other tribes such as the Suku, Yaka, and Pende. This tribe is composed of eighteen groups located in the southernmost part of the Great Equatorial Forest. The Kuba people always refer to themselves as the Bakuba which translates to “people of the throwing knife”. When the kingdom of tribes was first brought together, the people were ruled by the Bushong people from the hill country of the central Congo, these people have contributed most of the rulers to the Kuba.
Kuba people are recognised worldwide for their stunning works of art. Non more recognised than perhaps the geometric patterned and designed shoowa/kassai velevet textiles. Such is their creative talent and skill that it doesn’t only relate to textiles indeed the wealth of design spills out into most of the Kuba artifacts whether a stunning Kuba Bwoom helmet mask, Mwaash ambooy (kings mask), N’chak dance skirt, Laket or Kalyeem hat, heavily embellished instruments such drums or the smaller adornments like the belt or belt pendant/adornment you will see stunning design and decoration. Indeed many heavily beaded adornments in various sizes and shape are incorporated and worn alongside or attached to a yet again very heavily beaded belt. The sense of opulence and wealth being outwardly displayed by the mere wearing of these items. A showing of wealth is never more present than when a ceremony takes place, a time when the king will dress in all his finery showing to all his position and wealth, However, with all this regalia being worn it has been recorded that a total weight of a King’s raiment weighted as much as of 185lb, making it no simple ordeal to wear and carry such garments.
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