Kasai velvet or Kuba cloth is made of very fine fibre from the inside of the leaves of young palm trees, called raffia. Read the story..
Kasai velvet or Kuba cloth is made of very fine fibre from the inside of the leaves of young palm trees, called raffia. This fiber can not be spun like linen or cotton, but needs to be tied. Before that, the fiber, which is hard and extremely rough at the beginning, must be softened.
The men of the Shoowa are responsible for growing, harvesting and preparing the raffia. Once the fibers are ready, the work of weaving and embroidery is entrusted to pregnant women, who will devote many hours of work, sometimes even years to the most complex parts, which makes it an extremely valuable object.
Kasaï velvet are small shaved velvet carpets, usually square. They are usually covered with geometric patterns that correspond to Kuba scarification patterns.
The fabric, once finished, has several functions: It can be used as a gift, as currency, or is passed along with the dead.