Mat

Flat raffia mat with woven geometric, diamond-lke pattern of interlocking lines in green, natural and purple.
Artist Unknown, African, Kuba Peoples Democratic Republic of the Congo
c.1970
The Kuba are renowned for their elaborate, geomtrical surface designs. One of the most impressive expressions of this aesthetic is cloth made from raffia fiber. In the 19th century, decorated raffia cloth was a marker of prestige, used as currency, to pay tribute, settle legal disputes, and in public displays such as the funerals of high-ranking titleholders—a practice that continues today. Produced also for the international market, Kuba cloth—and imitations of its designs—can be found in shops and private collections all over the world. This type of mat was used for sitting, sleeping or as a burial cloth. It was also used as a form of moveable architecture to define spaces for special events such as royal visits. The purple ink was probably derived using ink from discarded ditto machines.
Museum Purchase made possible by the Friends of the Museum of Art
1985/1.165
Tuesday, May 26, 2020