This “Nchakabwiin” skirt was constructed and designed by the Shoowa People of the Republic of Congo. The piece features a juxtaposition of fabrics in alignment with the design of a specific motif. “Nchak” are composed of square or rectangular fabrics that are sewn together lengthwise, and in such a manner that foregrounds the unity of the panels and their lateral motion. This motion is established by alternating the dyes of black and red, or by combining panels of different dimensions. Interestingly, the patterns are in no specific order, yet illustrate their mutual relationship along the diagonals. The process of stylizing and preserving the form of such objects requires a deep knowledge of craft as transmitted via oral tradition through centuries in Shoowa culture.
Hilu, Sam. 2002. “Textile Art of the Bakuba: Velvet Embroideries in Raffia.” New York: Shiffer Publishers.
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