Worn as part of his ceremonial attire, this striking, structural head adornment (botolo) served as a visual signifier of the Ekonda chief's rank within his community. Within Ekonda society, the authority of the chief (nkumu) was associated with the powers of the ancestors, important ritual ceremonies and divination.
This botolo, made from woven raffia fashioned into a gradating, pagoda-shaped form, consists of five tiered brims. The surface of the hat has been adorned with geometric designs in red and white natural pigments, and a large brass disc (losanja) features at the front of the hat as a potent material symbol of wealth and prestige.
Estimated Period: Mid-20th Century (Or Before)
Ex Private Collection, Belgium
'Hat (Botolo)' Art Institute Chicago
M.J. Arnoldi & C.M. Kreamer (1995) Crowning Achievements: African Arts of Dressing the Head, p.44-45
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