Kuba Ceremonial Skirt
Kuba ceremonial wrap dress made of raffia and decorated with a variety of techniques such as applique, cut pile and tufting. A typical and unique feature of Kuba work, the hems face the surface. Here their edges are frayed for added texture. The cut pile technique identifies this skirt as of the Shoowa, a northern subgroup of Kuba. The Kuba use raffia as it is the only locally produced weaving material in this heavily forested land.The work is split between men who do the weaving on single heddle overhead looms and women who do the embroidery and applique. As a required wear in funeral processions and because the raffia looms could not be adapted for weaving cotton or synthetic fibres, the Kuba raffia skirtmaking tradition has survived relatively intact.
Circa: late 19th - early 20th century
Material: Raffia palm fiber, black velvet added later at one corner
Condition: Typical to raffia skirts, they get washed and pounded against rock in order to soften them, however this causes minor holes. Darned, some stains and discoloration, good
Dimensions: 33" x 164"
Inventory number: TX4219