congogirl (congogirl) wrote,

Kuba cloth

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I have a lot of photos from Kinshasa and Congo in general that I always intend to post right when I take them, but since that hasn't happened, I'll try to post a photo each Friday. 

This photo was taken in the Marché de Voleurs or Marché de Valeurs, depending on your perspective (Market of Thieves or Market of Treasures) near the Gare Centrale (central station) in Kinshasa.  Piles upon piles of Kuba cloth is for sale, a textile with several manifestations.  They are made from raffia and traditionally use natural dyes, although more recently I've seen bright pinks and purples and brilliant indigo blue joining the color schemes. 

The cloth is traditionally made and used in the vicinity of Sankuru District in eastern Kasaï Province.  Typically it is reserved for ceremonial dances, not worn on a daily basis.  The piece on the right side of the photo has texture where the fibers were rubbed before being embroidered into the work.  The pieces in general incorporate geometric motifs and tend not to be symmetrical or perfectly squared off - additional bits may be sewn on as partial borders or pieces may be sewn together to create a larger whole.  Plainer pieces without all the geometric embroidery may have geometric patches sewn onto a solid background or may be decorated with kaori shells.
Tags: africa, congo, kinshasa, photos

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