A feast for the eyes, a delight to the touch, we are pleased to offer a unique and extremely rare collection of Kuba ceremonial textiles!
These tactile textiles from the Congo are each hand-crafted in the traditional way - the men weaving square panels of raffia fiber on a small hand loom and the women taking great pride in their embroidering of these squares. The raffia fibers are peeled from the leaves of the raffia palm tree and are woven together using a technique known as "cut-pile," a technique in which the ends of the raffia embroidery threads are cut very short & close to the surface, producing a soft texture similar to velvet. This method is a slow process, taking up to 4 months to create a simple 2ft x 2ft square! Regarding the design of the cloth, the fibers are often dyed red, orange, brown, black or yellow to form complex and irregular patterns; which can also be seen in traditional Kuba wood carvings and body decorations.
Larger Kuba cloths are made by sewing individual panels together and are traditionally used as body wrappers or skirts, mats and blankets. Kuba textiles can also represent wealth, in that they are the only cloth to be traded in the form of currency.