Unique BaKuba Raffia Fiber Skirt

Unique BaKuba Raffia Fiber Skirt

This vintage ceremonial woman’s skirt, known as "itul", from the BaKuba people of Democratic Republic of Congo, is atypical in its balanced and symmetrical design.

It is composed of five panels of woven raffia palm fiber that are sewn together to create a garment that is 30"wide x 125"long. The natural colored raffia fiber is meticulously stitched in appliqué on a rust colored ground that is made from a natural pigment dye.

The Greek key design is enclosed in a natural colored appliqué border within each panel. The unadorned panels are asymmetrically balanced in their construction and attached to one end. This plain cloth would be worn next to the woman’s body and covered by the patterned panels as it is wrapped around her and secured by a belt. This unusual example could possibly be the work of a very skilled Ngongo woman or perhaps a Bushoong woman inspired by Ngongo design.

It is a beautiful old textile in great condition, featuring a lively design and the feel of fine linen.