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Classification: Textile

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Image of Hat (Isala)

Lega Peoples
African

Hat (Isala)

20th century

Object Type: Textile
Dimensions:
13 in. x Diam: 6 1/2 in. (33.02 cm x 16.51 cm)
Medium and Support: Fiber, cowrie shells, and feathers
Accession Number: 2013.0017.0020

Credit Line: Gift of Dileep and Martha Mehta


Caps decorated with cowrie shells were owned only by Lega who held prestigious positions within Bwami, an elite association whose membership safeguarded the moral and social codes that regulated community behavior. Bwami permeated every aspect of life and taught principles of moral perfection through proverbs, dances, and the presentation of objects. Members of Kindi and Yonanio, the highest and second highest levels of Bwami, constituted the intellectual, moral, and political elite of Lega society.

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