Hair pins such as this would have been worn as a symbol of wealth and high social status by royal Mangbetu woman. The pin consists of a simple, softly-curved rod crowned with a small disc. For Mangbetu artisans, the creation of these prestige items would have required a steady hand and great skill.
For Mangbetu men and women of the ruling class, the shape of the head, elaborate hairstyles, hats and prestige ornaments used to decorate the hair were an important aesthetic preoccupation. Hair pins were worn by both men and women to hold hats and ornate hairstyles in place.