Design cloth

Square panel of raffia, cut-pile cloth; top is even, plush surface; intersecting linear pattern creates geometic diamond motifs in contrasting dark and light browns. Back is woven raffia cloth.
Artist Unknown, African, Kuba Peoples Democratic Republic of the Congo
c.1970
The Kuba are renowned for their elaborate, geometrical surface design. One of the most impressive expressions of this aesthetic tradition 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.
Museum purchase made possible by the Alfred E. Pernt Memorial Fund in honor of Doctor of Technical Sciences Max H. J. Pernt and his wife Anna Pernt (née Mueller)
1986/2.105
Monday, October 22, 2018