Kuba Nchak Dance Skirt

Kuba Nchak dance skirt also known as “Ntshak”, this particular style of Nchak the Kuba call Buin Bushin.

Tribe: Kuba

Origin: DRC

Approx Age: Mid 20th Century

Materials: Raffia

Dimensions cm: 143 x 74

Ref. Number: 1068



This stunning piece of traditional Kuba attire shows plenty of signs of use. The centre section is in a cream natural raffia colour edged with a designed patterns typical and so easily recognised from the Kuba. There are several colours used through out the making of this beautiful Kuba Nchak or Nshaak skirt, black, brown and two different shades of cream.

Provenance: Ex Seward Kennedy Collection


The Nchak for ordinary day to day wear is usually a white and red garment worn wrapped around the lower body and held at the waist or beneath the breasts by a folded band of cloth or a belt made of twisted multi strand fiber. Nchak usually consists of two or three raffia panels. In ceremonial dances Nchak worn by women are considerably longer than those in every day wear. However today Nchak are made up of square or rectangular pieces of cloth sewn together lengthwise and assembled in such a way as to show off the unity of the panels or of their lateral movement, which is accent.

Amazingly though, the patterns, no matter how complicated, are never actually marked, instead, the women keep the design being worked in their mind, anticipating the colour changes needed to complete the design. Not marking with a pattern, is of course one of the most amazing aspects of cloth production. Many Kuba cloths are made in smaller pieces and are then sewn together to be used in the creation of garments. Indeed it is the usually the mans garment that is made up of two or occasionally three rectangles or almost square pieces of cloth with a border measuring between two to six inches. Sizes of cloth pieces depending on the size of the loom and the size of the person operating the loom. When sewn together for usage in garment creation, these costumes constitute an expression of wealth. They are used in dowries and as currency, and are sometimes given in large quantities to the dead during funeral ceremonies. The best examples are quite costly and seldom, if ever, used for what we might term as everyday wear.ed either by the use of alternating panels dyed red or black, or by sewing together panels of different dimensions.


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