African art > Textiles, Kuba velvet, Ncak nsueha Bushoong > Textile Pongo
Etoffe Pongo of the Pygmies of Ituri (N° 18734)
Ex-collection Belgian African art.
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Produced by the pygmies of the Ituri forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo, these woven fabrics made of ficus bark fibers were painted by women. The men cut wood and hammered the bark, and the women usually used a decoction of gardenia mixed with charcoal ash to draw with their fingers or plant stems patterns similar to the tattoos worn by tribal members.
On this example, grids of different sizes were drawn on the light background, lines
connecting each of them. 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. Soft touch texture. The Mangbetu, in contact with the Asua pygmies, produced a similar type of cloth (called tapa in Oceania) decorated with more complex symbols called murumba or nogetwe .
This type of fabric, if not worn as a loincloth, could be stretched on the inner walls of the huts.
Ref : "Art sans pareil" J. Volper ; "Africa, the Art of a Continent" ed. Prestel.