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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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1992, sold by Kabba, Cambridge, MA, 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, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lega peoples, 20th century

Object Place

Democratic Republic of the Congo


Overall: 26 x 16 x 18 cm (10 1/4 x 6 5/16 x 7 1/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Basketry, cowry shells, bird beak, mussel shells, buttons, patina


Africa and Oceania