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Kuba Raffia Textile Ntshak 158" Long DRCongo/Zaire African Decor, Fabric, Rare, Signed

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Description

This is a superb raffia textile from the Kuba people of the Kuba Kingdom, which is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This embroidered textile is a multi-panel skirt (Ntshak), worn wrapped multiple times around the waist. .

This textile is made by both men and women. Men did the weaving, women did the dying and embroidery. Raffia, which comes from the raffia palm tree, is notoriously difficult to work with. Soaking and pounding were both used to soften the fibers. Each piece took months to make.

This is your chance to purchase an old and high quality Kuba textile. Such textiles are becoming rare and this one will hold a central place in any collection of African textile.

"In sub-Saharan Africa, where representative art has flourished for centuries, carvers and crafts people have typically taken for their subjects human figures, animals, plants, and elements of the natural world. Abstract art, meanwhile, has remained marginal. The textiles of the BaKuba (Kuba) people of the Democratic Republic of Congo are an exception. Although part of a tradition that stretches back 400 years, Kuba textiles have a strikingly modern look. They use improvised systems of signs, lines, colors, and textures, often in the form of complex geometric rectilinear patterns. Their appliqués are reminiscent of works by 19th- and 20th-century masters like Matisse, Picasso, Klee, Penck, and Chellida. This is no coincidence: all of those artists were inspired by Kuba design!"

"Appliqué is the most popular weaving technique among the Kuba. To create an appliqué, Kuba artists use a stencil to cut decorative designs out of a brightly colored cloth, and then sew or apply the designs onto a cloth of a different color. The designs are then placed on top of yet another cloth. Through this process, the artist has the freedom to create an almost unlimited variety of patterns and combinations."

"The most familiar appliqués are dark brown or black on an ecru background, a pattern which is sometimes seen in reverse. Other popular appliqués are red or yellow, or are placed on a red or yellow background. Appliqués can also be natural-on-natural (or occasionally red-on-red). The black-on-neutral embroidery which resembles an elaborate maze is the work of the Ngeende or Ngoongo."

"Many European and American collectors have noted the striking similarities between Kuba appliqués and Matisse’s dancing figures. One surviving photograph shows Matisse in his bedroom, surrounded by Kuba textiles—an indication of how deeply he was influenced by Kuba design."

The above quotations are from Elizabeth S. Bennett and Niangi Batulukisi Ph.D., Kuba Textiles & Design

The last photo shows the signature...unusual to find a piece that is signed.

This piece measures 158" or 13+ feet long by 30" wide and has finished but uneven edges. Moderate staining and a few small holes from wear.

We do not recommend laundering textiles, and do not accept returns of textiles which have been laundered in any manner. Even dry cleaning is too much for some of these antique textiles. For some of them, a very gentle HAND washing (NEVER MACHINE, on any setting) in cool water with a very gentle detergent works, but even then, dyes may not be colorfast, and fabric may be less strong than it appears.
This is a superb raffia textile from the Kuba people of the Kuba Kingdom, which is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This embroidered textile is a multi-panel skirt (Ntshak), worn wrapped multiple times around the waist. .

This textile is made by both men and women. Men did the weaving, women did the dying and embroidery. Raffia, which comes from the raffia palm tree, is notoriously difficult to work with. Soaking and pounding were both used to soften the fibers. Each piece took months to make.

This is your chance to purchase an old and high quality Kuba textile. Such textiles are becoming rare and this one will hold a central place in any collection of African textile.

"In sub-Saharan Africa, where representative art has flourished for centuries, carvers and crafts people have typically taken for their subjects human figures, animals, plants, and elements of the natural world. Abstract art, meanwhile, has remained marginal. The textiles of the BaKuba (Kuba) people of the Democratic Republic of Congo are an exception. Although part of a tradition that stretches back 400 years, Kuba textiles have a strikingly modern look. They use improvised systems of signs, lines, colors, and textures, often in the form of complex geometric rectilinear patterns. Their appliqués are reminiscent of works by 19th- and 20th-century masters like Matisse, Picasso, Klee, Penck, and Chellida. This is no coincidence: all of those artists were inspired by Kuba design!"

"Appliqué is the most popular weaving technique among the Kuba. To create an appliqué, Kuba artists use a stencil to cut decorative designs out of a brightly colored cloth, and then sew or apply the designs onto a cloth of a different color. The designs are then placed on top of yet another cloth. Through this process, the artist has the freedom to create an almost unlimited variety of patterns and combinations."

"The most familiar appliqués are dark brown or black on an ecru background, a pattern which is sometimes seen in reverse. Other popular appliqués are red or yellow, or are placed on a red or yellow background. Appliqués can also be natural-on-natural (or occasionally red-on-red). The black-on-neutral embroidery which resembles an elaborate maze is the work of the Ngeende or Ngoongo."

"Many European and American collectors have noted the striking similarities between Kuba appliqués and Matisse’s dancing figures. One surviving photograph shows Matisse in his bedroom, surrounded by Kuba textiles—an indication of how deeply he was influenced by Kuba design."

The above quotations are from Elizabeth S. Bennett and Niangi Batulukisi Ph.D., Kuba Textiles & Design

The last photo shows the signature...unusual to find a piece that is signed.

This piece measures 158" or 13+ feet long by 30" wide and has finished but uneven edges. Moderate staining and a few small holes from wear.

We do not recommend laundering textiles, and do not accept returns of textiles which have been laundered in any manner. Even dry cleaning is too much for some of these antique textiles. For some of them, a very gentle HAND washing (NEVER MACHINE, on any setting) in cool water with a very gentle detergent works, but even then, dyes may not be colorfast, and fabric may be less strong than it appears.

Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
(135)
Reviewed by rhodkv
1 out of 5 stars
Nov 14, 2017
The fabric ldid not look as vibrant as the pictures it looked as if it was used.
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Reviewed by Christopher Daniel
5 out of 5 stars
Oct 26, 2017
Museum quality collection pieces of tribal art, going on display for educational purposes, thank you fast shipping as well......
Naga Tribal Bone Hairpins Etched, Traditional, Old, Burma

Reviewed by munchamuncha
5 out of 5 stars
Oct 18, 2017
This is great! A friend of mine suggested a clay foot cleaner and this is the one I chose. It's easy to hold, large, and works well. Shipping was very quick too.
Beauty Secret! Clay Foot Cleaner/Scrubber Used By Tribal People And Smart Women And Men!

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Kuba Raffia Textile Ntshak 158" Long DRCongo/Zaire African Decor, Fabric, Rare, Signed

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Overview

  • Vintage item
  • Materials: fiber fabric, thread, natural pigments
  • Feedback: 135 reviews
  • Favorited by: 70 people
  • Gift message available

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