Kuba Elaborate Rectangular Textile Panel


12341. Kuba Elaborate Rectangular Textile Panel


The woven panel of elaborate time consuming construction which contrasts the brown zigzag interlocking geometric designs with an bark cloth inset a striking design which is similar to their tribal scarification and has significance and meaning to the Kuba people.

This panel from a mid century ceremonial patchwork skirt, created out of woven raffia textile (from the raffia venifera palm) with dyed raffia embroidery, raffia textile appliqué and barkcloth patchwork cutouts. The bark cloth here is a natural, unwoven but processed product of the ficus natalensis tree's bark and is considered particularly prestigious.

Size 60 inches length x 28 inches H. mounted on a stretcher.

Symbols in the After-Life
The ceremonial occasions and court rituals that embroidered raffia cloth were originally produced for are rare events today. The survival of raffia weaving and embroidery techniques is tied to the importance these cloths play in today's funeral celebrations. The Kuba believe that high quality, correctly patterned raffia dress is key to being recognized by clan ancestors in the land of the dead, so families accumulate the cloths and pass them down through the generations. A choice royal example may have been used by a King in ritual ceremonies.

Provenance: This panel was purchased by the late, great African art dealer Merton D.. Simpson who thought so highly of it he spent a considerable sum having it professionally mounted.


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