Tetela Wrapper or Skirt
Eastern DR Congo
Late 19th century/early 20th century
Raffia fiber, resist-dye technique 

Size: 41" x 84"  (104 x 213 cm) 
The skirt has been mounted onto a wood stretcher. 

A very rare and striking early Congolese textile, which was collected by Captain George B. Sparrow of the S.S. Albertville before 1904. Only a few of these beautiful wrappers are known (sometimes of Maniema origin); these can be found in the collecitons of The British Museum and at the Musée Royal de l'Afrique Centrale, Tervuren.

By the end of the 19th century, most of the chiefs and elite of the Tetela and related peoples wore European fabric.

The wraper is assembled from rows of small individual raffia panels; their off-kilter exposed seams add subtle texture to the gorgeous two-tone color field, dyed magenta and brimstone yellow with natural dyes. 

Provenance details available from his heirs. 


Tetela Skirt, DR Congo