Chief's hat

image for Chief's hat
Label Text
This bicorn chief's headress alludes to the strength and power of the buffalo as it refers to the associated powers of Pende chieftancy. Stylistic elements that identify this headress include the appendages or horns on each side, the central knoblike proturberance and a finial at the crown. Among the Pende, these headresses are called misango mapende. The form is said to have originated in the Lunda region, and since the 1940s, Yaka and Suku chiefs have purchased this type of beaded headress from their Pende neighbors.
Plant fiber hat with projecting inverted cone knobs on top, front and back and forward projecting side horns. Hat has covered overall with glass beadwork in red yellow, white and blue lines and triangles .
Eliot Elisofon, New York, collected near Gungu, Zaire in 1966-67 to 1970
Exhibition History
Africa ReViewed: The Photographic Legacy of Eliot Elisofon, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., November 21, 2013-December 14, 2014
Art and History Gallery at the Corning Museum, Corning, NY, April 7, 1995-November 22, 1998
African Emblems of Status, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., October 29, 1982-April 3, 1983
Credit Line
Gift of Eliot Elisofon
See more items in
National Museum of African Art Collection
Mid-20th century
Object number
Pende artist
Male use
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Glass beads, plant fiber
H x W x D: 17.1 x 38.6 x 30.4 cm (6 3/4 x 15 3/16 x 11 15/16 in.)
National Museum of African Art
Costume Accessory