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As members of the Lega bwami association, which includes all circumcised adult men and their wives, advance through the association's hierarchy, different types of hats visually reveal the grade they have attained. The headdresses' shapes and materials have significance linked to bwami esoteric...

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Sold by Mr. Kabba to Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart

African, Lega peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 20th century, 1950–2000

Object Place

Democratic Republic of the Congo


Overall (without chin strap): 21 x 21 x 23 cm (8 1/4 x 8 1/4 x 9 1/16 in.) Other (chin strap): 23 cm (9 1/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Basketry, cowrie and mussel shells, fabric, beads, reeds or quills, wood


Africa and Oceania