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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)



19th century

The triumph of geometric design

Designs that twist and turn are sewn into cloths created out of palm trees. Kuba men of the Democratic Republic of the Congo grew palms that could produce fronds as long as fifty feet. Men wove the basic cloth, while women added cut pile embroidery of intricate geometries. Spontaneous shifts in alignment and constant pattern experimentation are hallmarks of Kuba cloth. Admired by many European artists, Kuba cloth was prominently displayed in the studio of the artist Henri Matisse. He was an obvious fan of this bold geometry, incorporating elements in his paper cut-outs and still life paintings.

Raffia, cut pile with natural dyes
15 3/8 in. (39 cm)
L.: 27 3/8 in.
Mary Arrington Small Estate Acquisition Fund
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, The Untold Story, November 14, 2003 - November 14, 2004

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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