Panel Originally Intended as a Ceremonial Skirt

A work made of raffia, plain weave; pieced; embroidered with raffia.

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  • A work made of raffia, plain weave; pieced; embroidered with raffia.

Date:

1901/83

Artist:

Kuba
Democratic Republic of the Congo

About this artwork

According to oral tradition, the seventeenth-century Kuba king Shyaam introduced plush-textured raffia textiles to his kingdom. Raffia panels have long been considered valuable in Central Africa; plain panels were used as currency as early as the sixteenth century. Increasingly decorative panels, embellished by women with innumberable combinations of geometric patterns, may have developed from this practice. Until the early twentieth century, such panels were exchanged in a variety of contexts—for instance, as royal tribute or part of a marriage contract. Today they continue to be collected by families, used in funeral displays, and buried with important adults.

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Textiles

Artist

Kuba

Title

Panel Originally Intended as a Ceremonial Skirt

Origin

Democratic Republic of Congo

Date

1901–1983

Medium

Raffia, plain weave; pieced; embroidered with raffia

Dimensions

547.4 × 100.6 cm (215 1/2 × 39 5/8 in.)

Credit Line

Africa, Oceania and the Americas Purchase Fund

Reference Number

1983.974

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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