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Creator Nationality: African; Central African; Congolese
Creator Name-CRT: West Central Africa, Kongo People, Yombe sub-tribe
Title: Chief's Cap
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1875
Creation End Date: 1925
Creation Date: late 19th - early 20th century
Object Type: Costume and Jewelry
Classification Term: Textiles
Materials and Techniques: raffia palm fiber, leopard claws
Dimensions: Overall: 42cm
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1997.180
Credit Line: John L. Severance Fund
Style or Period: West Central Africa, Kongo People, Yombe sub-tribe
Context: Among the Kongo peoples of west-central Africa, traditional village chiefs and rulers hold authority over political, judicial and economic spheres. They are also ritual leaders, expected to intercede with spirits and ancestors to maintain the well-being of the community. The chief's power is manifested through a variety of powerful implements, including fly whisks, execution swords, and ivory scepters. Among the most important symbols of a chief's authority is the cap. Power is transferred to the new chief along with the cap of his predecessor. In fact, the village leader's title means 'Chief of the Cap.' Crafted with a complex combination of looping and knotting, this cap formed part of a high-ranking chief's regalia, as indicated by its height and elaborate patterning. the presence of leopard claws on the crown confirms the high status of its owner, for the leopard is considered to be the ruler of the animal realm.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1997.180
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art
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