African, Democratic Republic of the Congo
mid 20th century
Overall: 76 cm (29 15/16 in.)
Not On View
Beads are symbols of status among the Kuba peoples of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and are associated with wealth and social, political, and spiritual authority. Beaded objects are worn in ceremonial and funerary contexts by title-holding individuals. This particular piece is made of dark brown beads and is heavily plaited. Historically, cowry shells and beads are imported goods and their use in decorating these objects denotes power and wealth of the wearer as well as the continuity of Kuba traditions.
About 1970, acquired in the Democratic Republic of Congo (then Zaire) by Jean and John Stanbury; 2010, gift of Jean and John Stanbury to the MFA. (Accession date: April 14, 2010)
Gift of Jean and John Stanbury