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Roughly 25" x 25"
Hand woven kuba shoowa textile with a flat weave and a linen back
Hand sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire)
Textiles are very important to the Kuba. Nearly all the adult members of society are involved in cloth production. The raffia used for the cloth is made from fiber taken from raffia palm leaves which must be stripped to narrow fibres. It is then woven on a loom by the Kuba men and subsequently beaten with a pounder to soften the cloth. Women are responsible for the detailed work including the embroidery, patchwork, edgings and possibly any tie-dyeing. These cloths are worn as overskirts, called ntshack if worn by a woman and mapel if worn by a man. They are worn around the waist over a longer underskirt and secured by a belt. They are worn for important ceremonies and for dancing. They have a specific meaning when worn at funerals because raffia is a symbol of security and continuity for the Kuba, linking the living to each other as well as to the deceased. They may also be commissioned by a chief for a specific ceremonial occasion. The best weavers may be employed for up to a year to create the necessary cloth, during which time the chief will feed, house and keep them.
**Each item is handmade and varies in size, design, and color. You may not receive the exact one pictured
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