Worn by a Mbala chieftain or high-ranking dignitaries, the mpu a nzim is a visual statement of power. The body of the bonnet, woven from fine raffia fibre, displays subtle linear contrasts of natural and darker-coloured strands. Sewn-on patterns and 'pompoms' of Olivancillaria shells, used as a currency by the Mbala's neighbouring culture of the Yaka, ornament the hat as material symbols of wealth and prestige. Echoing the colour of the shells, a woven pattern of lighter-coloured strands distinguishes the rim of the hat. Considering the age of this piece, this cap is in pristine condition.
Estimated Period: 1930's
Ex Private Collection, UK (London)
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