Traditional tribal raffia textiles are among the most distinctive works of African art for their elaboration and complexity of design. They are made by the Kuba people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
These pieces are characterised by symbolic and geometric patterns that indicate age, social status, and attributes of a person's character.
They are handwoven using the strands from raffia palm leaves and are dyed in a variety of tones using vegetable dyes. Their production is a multiple stage process which involves the participation of both men and women. Men are responsible for raffia palm cultivation and the weaving of raffia cloth. The basic cloth unit is produced on a single heddle loom. Then raffia textiles are embroidered by women with no stitching visible on the back.