Also known as velour du Kasaï, a cloth made using a cut-pile technique of embroidery by the Kuba ethnic group in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Women (traditionally, pregnant women) thread very fine raffia fibres through a woven raffia base cloth to create a pattern (the mbar),sometimes knotted then trimmed  to an even length, thereby creating a velvety pile effect; the ones I’ve seen and used were cut between 3-4mm (c.a. 0.1-0.15”) above the flat surface. This is then embroidered with original geometric designs similar to the Kuba body scarification patterns.

Kasai was traditionally intended as a royal bedcover, to cover royal stools and for ceremonial dress. It is a sturdy cloth with great decorative potential.

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