The crown jewel!
Village chiefs (nkumu) among the Ekonda & neigh-
boring groups wear a tiered hat (botolo) as an insignia
of office and an association with the powers of the
ancestors, important ritual functions, and divination.
The botolo is a coiled basketry hat composed of several
horizontal brims that increase in size from top to
bottom. The hat, made of raffia fibers & often colored
with camwood powder mixed with oil, is adorned with
brass or copper disks. Copper, brass, and iron were
used as currency in the Belgian Congo in the 19th to
early 20th centuries. The presence of metal disks on
botolo signifies wealth & prestige. A chief who is the
first in his line must buy the botolo; if he is descended
from a chief, he inherits his predecessor's "crown."
Height: 7 ¼" - Diameter: 5 ⅛" - Custom metal base is 3 ⅝" x 2"
Ex Jaques Hautelet collection.