Woman's Skirt

late 1800s–about 1906–12
Location: not on view
You can copy, modify, and distribute this work, all without asking permission. Learn more about CMA's Open Access Initiative.

Download, Print and Share

Did You Know?

The diamond motifs on this skirt have symbolic and cosmological links to lizards (mbil), an animal associated with matrilineal (female descent) clans.


Mbuun men wove and embroidered wrap skirts like this for women to wear on special occasions. Gently color-shifted patterns (lubawa) along the central panels were achieved by “floating” wefts (selectively covering over vertical, or warp, threads with horizontal, or weft, threads). In contrast, various black-brown embroidered diamonds cover the borders. These are called lobubasa, motifs also seen on cicatrices (ornamental scars) that once beautified women’s bodies. Short tufts running horizontally and vertically across the textile were created by inserting extra fibers, then cutting and fluffing them with a knife. These add texture and hide the seams between woven panels.
Woman's Skirt

Woman's Skirt

late 1800s–about 1906–12

Africa, Central Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mbuun-style weavers and embroiderers

Visually Similar Artworks

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.