See more objects with the tag men, men's clothing, dance, diamonds, lattice, ceremony, color blocking, Kuba, African.

See more objects with the color darkslategrey darkkhaki darkolivegreen dimgrey sienna or see all the colors for this object.

Object Timeline



  • Work on this object ended.


  • We acquired this object.





  • You found it!

Skirt (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

This is a Skirt. It is dated early 20th century and we acquired it in 1990. Its medium is raffia and its technique is plain weave, stitched, clamp-resist dyed. It is a part of the Textiles department.

Most men’s raffia dance skirts from the Congo are decorated with appliqué and embroidery. The Nogongo and Ngeende, however, are masterful dyers, and often incorporated resist-dye techniques in their skirts. Hungarian anthropologist Emil Torday described the technique in his account of his stay among the Ngongo in 1907 – 1910. This skirt is made by a technique known as stick-clamp-resist. Small flat sticks are stitched to folded squares of cloth that have been dyed red by means of a tannic substance. They are then treated with an iron-rich substance, usually mud, which causes the tannins to turn a rich purplish black. The controlled, angular designs that are revealed when the sticks are removed resemble the geometric motifs seen on embroideries, but the symmetry inherent in the technique sets these designs apart.

It is credited Museum purchase through gift of Anonymous Donor and Mrs. Harry T. Peters.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 61 × 294 cm (24 × 9 ft. 7 3/4 in.)

Cite this object as

Skirt (Democratic Republic of the Congo); raffia; H x W: 61 × 294 cm (24 × 9 ft. 7 3/4 in.); Museum purchase through gift of Anonymous Donor and Mrs. Harry T. Peters; 1990-133-1

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

For higher resolution or commercial use contact ArtResource.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Skirt (Democratic Republic of the Congo) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=1 June 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>