Zunga Ottoman (Kuba People, Democratic Republic of Congo)
12 x 32 x 32 ″Woven on hand loom from raffia, organic palm dyes.The Kuba People reside in the Democratic Republic of Congo and are world renowned for their tradition in textiles and the unique materials they employ to create them. Interestingly, Kuba designs are not pre-conceptualized as a finished product, but rather, as a process, of which the final outcome is not precisely known. Similar to the arts of jazz and hip-hop (likewise anchored in African culture), the designs of Kuba cloth are extemporaneous and improvised. This accounts for the continuity and juxtaposition of the patterns, which both flow and abruptly shift in their stylistic directions. Composed from a series of interlocking forms, often in tan and black, geometric structure and visual complexity are hallmarks of this textile. Eschewing European materials, each of these ottomans, which we call Zungas, are rendered from raffia palm, offering a characteristic texture and tactile feel. The process of designing and preserving the form of such pieces requires a deep knowledge of craft as transmitted via oral tradition over centuries in Kuba culture.
Rewerts, Ardis M. and Alira, Ashvo-Munoz. 1998. “Off Beat Rhythms: Patterns In Kuba’s Textiles." Oxford: Journal of Popular Culture. Vol. 32, Iss. 2.