Vintage Kuba Cloth African Textile Congo 21" X 134"
Vintage - 20th Century Kuba Cloth - Handwoven in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kuba Cloth, which once was used as currency, is often given as Lobola (part of the dowry payment to the family of the bride), in special ceremonies, and as symbols of wealth. While in Africa, I was told this type of Kuba is made for the King to walk on when he comes to the village. This is done as a form of admiration and respect.
Kuba Cloth is traditionally woven by the men using raphia. The applique is not only for beauty, but to strengthen the fabric after it has been pounded for softness. Another unique part of the Kuba Cloth is that it is stitched on the side that is to be shown or used. For instance if we made a tablecloth here, we would stitch on the underside and any design would be on top. Kuba is just the opposite.
The condition is very good although, there are signs of age which adds to it's beauty. When special textiles and ceremonial creations are passed down in families, they are often kept in excellent condition. Just as in my shop. I have had them for over 20 years, and as they were in my warehouse they are still in the good condition that the Congolese family I purchased them from, gave them to me. Sometimes, it's said that items have to be torn or broken to be old; this is not the case. Just as the quilts I have from my grandmother are in excellent condition, so have the people of the Congo kept these very special objects in tact as they are important. Of course there will be some discoloration, looseness, but not very much.
Kuba Cloth from the Congo DRC formerly Zaire, is my favorite African textile, as there are so many uses for it. We have made ottomans and pillows and they are fabulous either mounted as one piece or with several Kuba's hanging as one of the photos I'm showing here. Many people use them as table runners.
Approximate Dimensions: 21" X 134"