Woman’s Overskirt, Kuba, DR Congo

Woman’s Overskirt
Kuba people
DR Congo
First half, 20th century
Raffia and indigo-dyed cotton 
Size: 67 x 20 ins (167.6 x 40 cm)
Provenance: An old Belgian collection

The laborious construction of this unusual woman’s skirt entailed cutting and folding over 1000 individual small squares, four times each, and piecing them into a checkerboard design. The dark/light color contrast, the use of multiple small elements, and the dimensions are reminiscent of the distinctive overskirts composed of white and black bark cloth, and there may be an association with that style. The careful folding yielded a highly textured surface; a preference for exposed seams is innate to the Kuba textile aesthetic. The extensive use of blue cotton, which was a valued trade cloth, is also an indication of status and age.

Price on request

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Berkeley, CA