Kuba Shoowa Textile

The most commonly known of the Kuba textiles are the cut-pile Shoowas or Kassai Velvets.
Tribe: Kuba

Origin: DRC

Approx Age: 20th Century

Materials: Raffia/Plant Fibre

Dimensions cm: 67 x 63

Ref. Number: 0869

£65.00
Description:

A lovely Kuba Shoowa Textile made by the Kuba people of the Democratic Republic Of Congo. The most commonly known of the Kuba textiles are the cut-pile Shoowas or Kassai Velvets, named after the river along which the Kuba live. Work on high quality velvet can last a month or even more. Textiles are woven by men and embroidered by women.

History

Raffia, which comes from the raffia palm is a notoriously difficult medium and it has to be softened before it can be sewn into a large cloth. Soaking and pounding are the most common way to achieve this.  It is the men and young boys who collect the palm leaves then strip and split them by hand or with combs while the women will split and smooth the fibers with snail shells. Once the fibers have been made more pliant they would be wound into skeins. It is the length of the skeins that will determine the size of the cloth produced as strands are not tied. This process completed it is job of the men, who are responsible for the weaving. The women must do the dying of the cloth in preparation for the embroidery. Most common colours include ecru,black,brown and red. Dyes are created from local plant sorces..

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