Kuba Shoowa Textile

Six different embroidered designed squares amalgamated to create one stunning Kuba Shoowa textile.

Tribe: Kuba

Origin: DRC

Approx Age: Mid 20th Century

Materials: Raffia

Dimensions cm: 70 x 46

Ref. Number: 1105


Very interesting combination of six different patterns and designs together on one piece of Kuba Shoowa textile,  scalloped at one end, with interlaces lozenges, diamond and square shapes help in this creation and depiction of Kuba artistry. A bold use of contrast raffia thread enhancing the embroidered pattern. With each section being so bold the work carried out on this textile is both fascinating and amazing when all embroidery is sewn from memory.

Provenace: Ex Seward Kennedy Collection.


The people of the Kuba DRC have been weaving the raffia cloth into the ‘Shoowa’ or ‘Kasai Velvet’ for 400 years. To the Kuba people, it is a precious item, used as a currency or gift for visiting tribal chiefs, newly-married couples at a wedding, or grieving families at a funeral. As tradition goes it’s the men who gather and prepare the raffia for cloth and then the women who have the job of dying the thread than creating an embroidery using the geometric patterns and designs sewn on to the raffia cloth. Sewn from memory alone rather than a preset pattern. A combination of interlaced lozenge, rectangles and blocks of colour create these lovely undulating designs. Irregularities characterise textiles such as Shoowa and Kassai velvets and although being described as austere, subtle and monochromatic, they nonetheless have a powerful impact on the viewer.


Contact Exquisite African Art

14 + 9 =

+44 (0)1507 328026

Follow us

Subscribe to our mailing list

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This