African art > Headdress Hat > Headdress Lega

Bwami's Lega Hairstyle (N° 17514)

This type of head adornment is worn by members of the highest ranks of the secret society bwami regating the Lega social structure, open to circumcised adults and their wives and who instruct their adherents in terms of moral perfection. These objects are part of the masengo , meaning that they are sacred and can therefore only be carried by the initiates. The owner cannot part with it during his life. Bwami has varying degrees, with yananio and kindi highest.

The materials used vary, they may be clothing buttons, curies, pearls or cocoa beans. On an old cap carefully braided in natural fibers, this head cover has the distinction of being covered with scales of pangolin, a totem animal of the Lega that only initiates can consume. According to legend, the animal taught them the art of making leaf roofs from their boxes. This animal with the characters of both reptile and fish, able to roll into a ball to protect itself from predators, has a particularly developed hearing and sense of smell. This headdress is topped with elephant hair in reference to the destructive power of the animal under an unflinching appearance.

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

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Originex-collection allemande
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)plant fibre, écailles de pangolin, boutons
Weight0.20 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle inclusOptional

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