At first glance, the mats woven by the women of Mbole, inhabitants of the equatorial rain forests of Upper Zaire who belong to the secret Otuku community, appear to be implements. Their original purpose is unknown. At official ceremonies, dancers hold them in their hands or they are used as protection against others. At weddings, the woman gives her family-in-law a number of mats to demonstrate her weaving skills. When one of the members of the secret order dies, the others bring losa mats and use them as a shroud. A closer examination reveals the diversity in the weaving which has a special, aesthetic effect.