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The Shoowa people, a small tribe from the kingdom of Kuba, now Zaire, have been designing and making embroidered textiles for hundreds of years. With their complex geometrical patterning and bold colours, these works of art were used in a variety of ways by the Shoowas, as status symbols, dowries, shrouds, religious vestments or as a type of currency. Genuine production ceased around 1905, with the result that they have become collectors' items. This is a study of these textiles and their history. 100 designs have been selected, photographed and analyzed. Diagrams show each design's development from basic motif to complicated pattern. The history of the Shoowa people is traced and the various influences on their designs, such as prehistoric art are discussed.
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