Finely crafted cut pile embroideries are objects of great prestige in Kuba society. Although men and women contribute equally to the production of raffia textiles, this particular form of surface ornamentation is worked only by women.
The finest cut pile embroideries, as in this example, combine a flat stem stitch with a tufted plush stitch, resulting in a distinct texture that enhances the overall design of the piece. Patterns used for Kuba embroidery are drawn from over 200 traditional motifs that are also used for woodcarving, basketry, and ceramics. Kuba artists rarely replicate designs exactly, but rather use them as a basis for improvisational experimentation.