Shoona Tribe, Kuba Region Raffia Cloth
Shoona Tribe, Kuba Region Raffia Cloth

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Shoona Tribe, Kuba Region Raffia Cloth
Early 20th c

Kuba refers to the region of the D.R. Congo, formerly Zaire, where the raffia cloth stems from, and Shoowa is a tribal group who lives in this region and makes a specific style of cloth. Their designs are intricate, in bold earthy colors, and have had a variety of uses as a type of currency, as dowries, status symbols, and funerary shrouds. The fibre is extracted from the palm tree leaves which grows in the tropical forests of Central and West Africa. The fibre is dyed using mud, indigo, or substances from the camwood tree. The raffia fibers are rubbed by hand to soften them and make them easier for weaving. Men weave   the base cloth and the women embroider in the design. They do this by pulling a few threads of the raffia fibers, inserting them into a needle running the needle through the cloth until the fibers show up on the opposite end. They then take a knife and cut off the top of the fibers, leaving only a little bit showing, which gives a look of velvet . Doing this hundreds of times forms a design. The designs are seldom planned out ahead of time, and most of the embroidery is done by memory. 

This would look great mounted onto a stretcher and hung. 

Description

interlaced diamonds outlined in dark brown and beige, either of brown or beige raffia or half and half, 15 in or 38 cm sq.

Condition

Very good. This was clearly used for a seat cover. The measurement I have given allows for the damage at the corners, so finished  good area has been given.

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