KUBA BARKCLOTH TEXTILE 14

Photographs © Tim Hamill

KUBA, BARKCLOTH TEXTILE 14, 72x26", $350, Democratic Republic of Congo

These special wraps were worn outside, or on top of, the long dance dresses for added decoration and prestige. The central area is barkcloth, made by beating a layer from just under the tree bark until it is thin and pliable. Numbers 1-11 are painted in typically Kuba geometric abstract patterns, similar to those on their barkcloth dance costumes. Numbers 12-15 are quilted from small triangular pieces. One end, usually, and the two sides are embellished with raffia borders, which can be quilted, embroidered, tufted, tie-dyed or tasseled.

CARE: The cloth is not fragile and can be pinned onto a wall or panel for display, or framed like a work on paper.

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