Textiles | Kuba Cloth

A feast for the eyes, a delight to the touch, we are pleased to offer a vast selection of Kuba ceremonial textiles ( also referred to as Shoowa, or Kasai Velvet).

These tactile textiles from the D.R. Congo are each hand-woven by 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 an arduous and labor intensive process, taking up to 4 months to create a  piece. The complex and sometime irregular patterns can also be seen in traditional Kuba wood carvings and body decorations. The fibers are often dyed with red, orange, brown, or black, which are made from natural materials.

Larger Kuba cloths are made by sewing individual panels together which were 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.

NOTE: Our favorite textile in the world, some of these show wear. Kindly ask for a condition report if desired before purchasing.

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PHONE: 1-858-454-9983