Basket with Loop Handle
ArtistKuba (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Dimensions: 10 1/4 x 7 1/4 x 5 3/4 in. (26.04 x 18.41 x 14.61 cm)
Credit LineHope College Collection
Raffia fiber is made from the leaves of raffia palms, a genus that contains about twenty species of palms. Native to the tropical regions of Africa, raffia palms can grow more than 50 feet in height and have long compound pinnate leaves. Raffia fiber is strong and relatively easy to produce. It has been used for centuries in sub-Saharan Africa and other tropical regions to make cordage, baskets, mats and textiles. This basket was made by the Kuba people, a confederation of similar ethnic groups who created a powerful kingdom in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo between the 17th and early 20th centuries.