African art > Headdresses and hats, headdresses > Headdress Lega

Bwami Mukuba's Lega Hairstyle (N° 18747)

Ex-collection of Swiss tribal art.
This type of head adornment is worn by members of the highest ranks of the secret society, which governs the social structure, open to circumcised adults and their wives, and which educates its members in terms of moral perfection. These objects are part of the masengo , meaning that they are sacred and therefore can only be worn by initiates.  The owner cannot part with them during his lifetime.  The Bwami has different degrees, the yananio and kindi being the highest. The materials used vary, they can be buttons for clothing, cowries, beads or cocoa beans.  On a carefully braided cap made of natural fibers, this headgear is entirely covered with cowries, a barter currency originally imported from the Indian Ocean by Hausa merchants. This cap was once topped with elephant hair in reference to the destructive power of the animal under an imperturbable appearance. This prestigious accessory, prohibited today, was reserved for initiates of the last echelon who identified themselves with the animal.

Source: "Insiders". Ed. Dapper Museum ; "Animal" Dapper Museum.  

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Originex-collection suisse
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)plant fibre, cauris
Weight0.04 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle inclusOptional

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