African art > Textiles, Kuba velvet, Ncak nsueha Bushoong > Pagne Kuba
Etoffe Nshak, Ncak, Bushoong Kuba (N° 18749)
Prestigious fabrics among Kuba African art objects
Produced in Zaire by the Shoowa, Bashoowa, mainly, sub-group Kuba, these fabrics forming real paintings of primitive art, are made of a textile base in raffia. The geometrical patterns formed represent the body scarifications of the ethnic group or take up the decorations of the sculptures. These refined fabrics were intended to be used at the royal court, as seat or cover, to enhance its prestige. In many cases, they took on the value of money, or they also followed their owners into the grave by covering the body of the deceased.
It was King Shamba Bolongongo who is said to have introduced the technique of weaving to Kuba country in the 17th century. He had previously introduced the Kuba to the art of forging. It was the men who softened the fibers of young palm trees and bark to draw long threads, which was a delicate and laborious exercise that took several months. Embroidery was then the prerogative of women, originally pregnant women. It was the Bushoong women, a Kuba sub-tribe from which the king was chosen nyim , who adorned the fabrics of cowries, embroidered patterns, or beads.
This piece of cloth is formed by an assembly of different sewn panels and constitutes the skirt of male mapel , or female, ntshak , whose decorative motifs were adapted to the social rank of the owner.
These last ones were mainly worn at the time of the funeral.
Sources: "Kuba" 5Continents and "Chefs d'Oeuvres de l'Art Africain" Larousse; "L'Art africain" Kerchache, Paudrat and Stephan.
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|Origin||Collection P. Malisse|
|Country||rdc ex zaire|
|Material(s)||fibres de raphia|
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