Ncak Fabric - African art

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African art and the refinement of Kuba weaving
Produced in Zaire by the Shoowa, Bashoowa, Kuba sub-group, these fabrics forming veritable paintings are made up of a raffia textile base on which threads are cut with flush, forming a velvet effect accentuated by the contrasts of tone. The geometric patterns formed represent the body scarifications of the ethnic group or the decorations of the sculptures. These refined fabrics were intended to be used at the royal court, as seat or cover, in order to enhance its prestige. In many cases they took on the value of money, or also followed their owners to the grave by covering the body of the deceased. It was King Shamba Bolongongo who introduced the technique of velvet weaving in the 17th century to the Kuba country. He had previously initiated the Kuba into the art of blacksmithing. It was the men who softened the fibers of young palm trees and bark to draw long ropes, which was a delicate and laborious exercise that took several months. Embroidery was then the prerogative of women, originally pregnant women. This piece of fabric was sewn to other pieces to form the male ceremonial skirt mapel , or female, ntshak , whose decorative motifs were adapted to the rank owner's company. These were mainly worn at funerals. Sources: "Kuba" 5Continents and "Masterpieces of African Art" Larousse  

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Originex-collection française, ex-collection belge
Material(s)fibres de raphia
Height cm90
Width75 cm
Weight0.70 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°

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