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
Hat (Mpaan)

Hat (Mpaan)

Kuba People
Democratic Republic of Congo
Hat (mpaan)
20th Century
Fabric, glass beads, cowrie shells
Gift of Rod McGalliard
2003.40.9

Flat topped hats, mpaan, are worn for ceremonies that display family wealth and unity, as well as funerals for high-ranking individuals and other important community events. Only women in the king’s entourage may be authorized to wear the mpaan. The mpaan serves as a base for the more elaborately beaded conical hat, the kupash. The black and white triangular beaded pattern on the sides is called lakwoon, meaning “crochet.” The cowry shell accentuated by rings of glass beads in the center of the cap echoes the large white conus shell adornment on royal headdresses.

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