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Lega Bwami Hat with Beak and Shells Congo African Art

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Special Price $72.00 Regular Price $144.00
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Title Lega Bwami Hat with Beak and Shells Congo African Art
Type of Object Ceremonial Hat
Country of Origin Democratic Republic of Congo
People Lega
Materials vegetal fibers, dried seeds, bird skull and beak, cloth (cotton?)
Approximate Age mid 20th century
Height (in) 9.75
Width (in) 6
Dimensions Height: 9.75 Inches
Width: 6 Inches
Overall Condition Fair.
Damage/Repair some mussels shells broken. skull and beak are severely damaged. broken strands of fiber.

Additional Information: This is a traditional conical Lega hat. The frame in made of vegetal fibres using basketry techniques. The surface is decorated with  mussel shells. A  horn is placed on the top of the hat; the hat is covered with dried seeds found locally. And strap is decorated with imported  buttons. 

Lega hats such as this reveal status among the Bwami secret society which governs most of Lega life. Animals are important in Bwami symbolism, and elephant, pangolin, and hornbill all represent different levels of Bwami. For a fascinating article with numerous examples, see Elizabeth Cameron's article on Lega Hats in Arnoldi and Kreamer's CROWNING ACHIEVEMENTS-AFRICAN ARTS OF DRESSING THE HEAD