Made by Mbuti women for dances, festivities and coming-of-age ceremonies, the asymmetric, spontaneous and animated patterns of bark cloth paintings reflect and respond to their rainforest surroundings - giving shape to Mbuti perceptions of place.
The design of this Mbuti bark painting keeps the eye constantly in motion, following the dynamic, expressionistic and freelance composition interspersed with arrangements of biomorphic motifs.
Scholar Robert Farris Thompson has related the complex design compositions of bark paintings to the creative intellectual abilities of the Mbuti, seen, for instance, in their ability to switch between any of the three languages they speak and their polyphonic musicality.
This bark cloth was field collected in the 1950's in Zaire and has been in a private German collection till recent times.
Estimated Period: Pre-1950's
Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, ‘Bark Cloth’ https://africa.si.edu/collections/view/objects/asitem/items$0040:18576
Andres Moraga Textile Art, ‘Mbuti Paintings’ https://issuu.com/andresmoragatextileart/docs/mbutipaintings/17
Custom-Mounted: H: 92.5cm x W: 44cm
(Click on images to enlarge)