Requires Photography

Five beaded adornments

Democratic Republic of the Congo
mid 20th century

Object Place: Democratic Republic of the Congo


Overall: 97 cm (38 3/16 in.)

Accession Number


Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art, Jewelry



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 belt or hip adornment was plaited with tan beading, but has multicolored plastic beaded woven into one end. 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); 2010, gift of Jean and John Stanbury to MFA. (Accession date: April 14, 2010)

Credit Line

Gift of Jean and John Stanbury