Image Gallery → Power and Prestige
Democratic Republic of Congo
Belt (mukody mu-ikup lakiing)
Raffia, glass beads, cowrie shells
Gift of Rod McGalliard
2 ½ x 52 ¾ in. (6.4 x 134 cm)
Narrow belts with beaded knots are usually worn by women. The laborious process of making the bead-covered knot is a challenge to the beadworker’s skill. It is adorned with rows of cowries, which formerly served as currency, as a sign of both wealth and beauty. The glass beads, imported from Europe, were also favorite embellishments that call attention to the wearer’s wealth and prestige.