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Lega Bwami Ceremonial Hat with Cowry Shells African Art

Product #: 46258
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Title Lega Bwami Ceremonial Hat 
Type of Object Hat
Country of Origin DR Congo
People Lega
Materials Vegetal fibre,  cowry shells, buttons
Approximate Age Second half 20th century
Dimensions 16 inches x 6.5 inches
Overall Condition Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair A few cowry shells missing.

Additional Information: Lega hats 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. Imported buttons are sometime added. All these elements help identify the owner. 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.

I have examined this piece and agree with the description.
Niangi Batulukisi, PhD.