Textile Cuba - African art

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African art > Textile > Textile Cuba

Kasai Shoowa Velvet (N° 14935)

Ex-collection Belgian tribal art.
African art and the refinement of Kuba weaving Produced in Zaire by the Shoowa, Bashoowa, Kuba subgroup, these fabrics forming real first art paintings, consist of a raffia textile base on which threads are cut to the brim, forming a velvet effect accentuated by contrasts of tone. The geometric patterns formed represent the bodily scarifications of the ethnic group or the decorations of the sculptures. These refined fabrics were intended to be used at the royal court, as a seat or cover, to enhance its prestige. They in many cases took value of money, or also followed their owners into the grave by covering the body of the deceased. It was King Shamba Bolongongo who introduced the technique of velvet weaving to the 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 palmtrees and barks to draw long threads, which was a delicate and laborious exercise that took several months. The embroidery was then the prerogative of women, originally pregnant women. The male, mapel, and feminine loincloths, ntshak, were adapted by their decorative motifs to the social rank of their owner.
Colore. Excellent state of preservation, tight weaving.  

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Originex-collection belge
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)fibres de raphia
Weight0.22 Kg
Estimated datingcirca 1950

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