Dancing skirt

African (Tutsi)
early 20th century

Object Place: Rwanda or Burundi


Length x width: 82 x 234 cm (32 5/16 x 92 1/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Pounded ficus bark; plant dyes

Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Textiles and Fashion Arts



Brown bark cloth skirt with black vertical bands of geometric patterning.


Probably by the 1930s, purchased in Africa (probably Congo) by a Belgian settler or traveler [see note 1]. By 2007, Ambre Congo S.C.R.L., Brussels; September 19, 2007, purchased from Ambre Congo by Andrés Moraga, Berkeley, CA; purchased from Moraga by the MFA (Accession date May 19, 2010)

[1] The majority of African material found in Belgium was collected during the early 20th century by colonial Belgian administrators, priests or businessmen. Dealer Andrés Moraga notes in e-mail correspondance with Pam Parmal on file that he was told that the piece had been in "an old Belgian collection" and brought there in the 1930s. They were exported from Africa as "curiosities" by Belgian families returning to Europe from the Congo, and can still be occasionally found in Belgian estate sales.

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated by Jeremy and Hanne Grantham