Kuba skirts, Tcaka, long are cloths made from raffia, from 8 - 25 feet long, from the Ngeende, Bushoong and Ngongo peoples. They incorporate appliqued "patches", embroidered shapes and patterns, openwork, tie-dye, cowrie shells, barkcloth and border elements. The appliqued "patches" originally repaired holes, then developed into traditional design motifs. .All are covered with geometric symbols; many are restrained, subtle and rhythmic designs using one technique; others create amazing quilt-like assemblages of old pieces of many forms. The full skirts are worn bunched up and wrapped around many times. The exhibit also includes smaller, ornate pieces and individual panels from the large skirts.They were sewn together for ceremonial dress and covered royal stools. As a sign of status and to provide for the afterlife they were buried with kings or those fortunate enough to own many.
The long cloths were wrapped around many times and worn as a skirt or dress. These are single panels of such a dress wrap. We have many full-length skirts in our gallery, but it is difficult to photograph the full length. We'll try to get some on the site soon.
A NOTE ABOUT THESE PHOTOGRAPHS: Being as long as they are, these skirts are extremely difficult to photograph. What you see here are sections up to eight feet long taken from both ends. If the cloth is longer than sixteen feet, there will be a section in the middle that is unphotographed. Any serious stains, holes or discolorations will be shown in the detail. These photographs were taken with the cloth hanging loosely. It can be pinned flat for display.
CARE: The cloth is not fragile and can be pinned onto a wall or panel for display. To eliminate wrinkles, the cloth can be misted with water, and then gently ironed on the back.