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    Artist Name:

    Mbeengi Artist, Kuba Kingdom

    Title:

    Noblewoman's Ceremonial Overskirt

    Date:

    19th century

    Medium:

    Rafia and embroidery

    Dimensions:

    43 1/2 x 22 inches

    Credit Line:

    Purchase with funds from the Friends of African Art and Joan N. Whitcomb in memory of Taylor Stuckey

    Accession Number:

    2008.1

    On View - Wieland Pavilion, Lower Level, Gallery 102, African Collection
    Each block within this cloth contains a different design. In addition, the negative/positive interchange creates a dynamic, improvisatory quality combined with a taste for asymmetry and abrupt pattern-breaks. The extremely fine stitch of the embroidery, its complex patterns, and the irregular feature at one end—like a sketch done in thread—make it a masterpiece of central African textile art. It was made for a woman of royal rank or high social status. Within central Africa, the tradition of embroidered cloth predates the more well-known, early-nineteenth-century tradition of Kuba cut-pile cloth known as Kasai velvet. This textile’s all-embroidered ground and design layout, with a partitioning of the surface into multiple blocks of patterning, link it to the earlier artistic conventions of Kongo textile art, despite its origin in the Kuba region.



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    Please Note: Not all permanent collection works are currently on view. Please contact the Museum concerning the on view status for a specific work if required.