Belgian African art collection
Produced by the pygmies of the Ituri forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo, these fabrics woven from ficus bark fibers were painted by the women. The men cut the wood and hammered the bark, and the women generally used a decoction of gardenia mixed with coal ash to draw patterns with fingers or plant stems similar to the tattoos worn by members of the tribe.
On this thick copy, the rhythm and the space created between the different signs would also have a link with the polyphonic songs through which the Mbuti pygmies of Ituri address God. Woolly touch texture. The Mangbetu, in contact with the Asua pygmies, produced a similar type of fabric (called tapa in Oceania) decorated with more complex symbols called murumba or nogetwe.
This type of fabric, if it was not worn as a loincloth, could be stretched on the interior walls of the huts.
Ref. : “Unparalleled art” J. Volper; “Africa, the Art of a Continent” ed. Prestel.
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