Raffia cloth

20th century, 1950–2000
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Demoractic Republic of the Congo


Overall: 69 x 483 cm (27 3/16 x 190 3/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Raffia fiber, pigment

Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art, Textiles and Fashion Arts



The Kuba peoples’ delight in two-dimensional design ranged from the adornment of the human body in the form of scarification, to elaborately decorated wooden boxes, to geometric patterns in raffia cloth, created jointly by men and women. Scholars have described one of the principles of Kuba aesthetics as horror vacui-the reluctance of artists to leave empty spaces.


1980s, acquired in Cambridge, MA by Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart