Woven and embroidered by men, this hip wrapper or skirt was worn by women on ceremonial or funerary occasions. The tan central pieces display the understated texture and figuration of a plain weave with a subtle pattern. The embroidered borders depict a variation on the lozenge design, thought to be a schematic representation of the lizard, a sacred matrilineal clan ancestor. The wrapper would have been worn just below the scarifications that encircled the waists of Mbun women, creating a visual echo between the geometric lozenge patterns on the raffia and those on the skin. Emil Lejeune, a Belgian colonial administrator working in the then Congo Free State, collected this textile before 1912, providing us with the rare ability to closely date a work from Africa.
"Acquisitions of the Princeton University Art Museum 2012," Record of the Princeton University Art Museum 71/72 (2012-13): p. 105-132.