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Object Name: Chief’s hat (botolo)
Culture: Ekonda peoples
Place of Origin: Democratic Republic of the Congo
Date/Era: Early 20th century
Medium/Materials: Plant fiber, brass, fur, fiber cord
Dimensions: H: 45 cm
Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Museum purchase.
Accession Number: X425.6
This elaborate coiled headdress was once one of the principal symbols of chiefly authority among the Ekonda and neighboring peoples of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was the obligation of a chief to wear a hat like this whenever he appeared in public. The hats of deceased chiefs were preserved and inherited by their successors.
Source: Gallery text, Fowler in Focus: African Basketry Arts, Thinking outside the Basket, 2009.
See also: Marla C. Berns, World Arts, Local Lives: The Collections of the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, 2014.