The Art Blog by Wovensouls

Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra

The Ceremonial Costume of Kuba Royalty

Extravagant is the only word to describe the complete costume worn by the King!

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“The outfit is made out of material stitched with beads and “cauris” (small shells used an money in Africa) and weighs 160lb. It takes more than two hours to dress the king and two days of spiritual preparation to be sufficiently purified in order to wear the outfit.

The weight and the heat of the bwantshy is such that it is impossible to wear it more than one hour. The preceding king had only worn it three times during his entire life.”

***

Hardly visible under the enormous jewelry is the tunic that is only partially stitched and left open at the seams under the arms and along the body. It is better described as a cape with well defined sleeves.

A Link to a Tunic in the collection of the Newark Museum

and another to one sold in Christie’s in 2003

And finally a simpler one that has recently joined the wovensouls collection

ANTIQUE ROYAL KUBA TUNIC COSTUME Length 27" width 20 " WORN BY THE KING

Made of raffia fibre, cowries and beads this piece is just one of the many components of the ceremonial costume and is hardly visible when worn.

Details of the material:

ANTIQUE KUBA COSTUME Length 27" width 20 "

See more images of this heavy and exceptionally well-maintained piece here.

jm

Aug 2015

*Images from

  1. http://theculturalexperience.co.za
  2. http://africanartists.blogspot.sg

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