Image Gallery → Power and Prestige

  • Male Royal Ancestor Mask
  • Kuba Belt
  • Kuba Belt
  • Sash with Triangular Pendant
  • Hat (Mpaan)
  • Kuba Belt
  • Man's Prestige Hat (ashetu)
  • Beaded Coronet
  • Beaded Coronet
  • Beaded Coronet
  • Beaded Crown (adenla)
  • Royal Slippers
  • Elephant Mask


Kuba people
Democratic Republic of Congo
Belt (mukody mu-ikup lakiing)
20th Century
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.

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