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Lega Bwami Hat Mussel Shells Buttons Congo African Art

Product #: 128505
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Title Lega Bwami Hat Mussel Shells Buttons Congo African Art
Type of Object Ceremonial Hat
Country of Origin DR Congo
People Lega
Materials Vegetal fibers, mussel shells, buttons
Approximate Age Mid 20th century
Dimensions Height: 6.5 Inches
Width: 5.5 Inches
Overall Condition Fair to 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 Chips and scratches on mussel shells , cut strings in one place around the base of the hat

Additional Information: This is a traditional  Lega hat with  frame made of vegetal fibres using basketry techniques. The surface is decorated with  mussel shells and vegetal plaites.  The chin 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