African, Kuba peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo
20th century, 1950–2000
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Democratic Republic of the Congo


Overall: 11 x 21 cm (4 5/16 x 8 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Fiber, feathers, shells

Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art, Textiles and Fashion Arts



The mode of dress for Kuba kings and titleholders is especially important. The degree of the costume’s opulence is directly related to the power of its wearer. This importance extents beyond aesthetics as parts of the costume relate specifically to the wearer’s title and role within the community. The feathers and white plumes would be worn on the head and belong to the king’s, bwaantshy, or official state dress. The king would wear the hat and accompanying costume on important state occasions.


1980s, acquired in Cambridge, MA by Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart