Pende Chief's Beaded Crown, Misango, African
Additional Information: An exquisite piece, glass beads over woven grass. This is a beautiful Pende Beaded chief's crown well done. The crown shows some loose threads, one horn missing, and a few beads missing. The symmetry of the designs indicates that the piece was made by a master artist. It takes months to realized such work.
Pende's crowns, called Misango, are insignias of title, and nobility. The Pende, Lunda, Yaka, and a few other groups influenced by the Lunda use this king of crown.The original form is based on the Old Lunda models, as the earliest collected examples came from the Lunda, and the style passed on to all the neighboring people under Lunda influence.
The horns are supposed to recall the horns of the buffalo, which is a chiefly male symbol of power. Beads are mainly used to decorate chief’s hats and scepters like this one. Other prestigious objects such as this wand or scepter were also decorated with beads. They were used by the political leaders and are worn or carried as emblem of authority, badges of office and insignia of rank. Priests and diviners will also use this special scepter while performing their ritual duties. Scepters are said to embody powerful spirits.
See a similar example in CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT. AFRICAN ARTS OF DRESSING THE HEAD, p. 102.