Pende and Yaka chiefs wore beaded bicorn hats with vividly colored geometric designs. Originally found among the Lunda chiefdom, and adopted by the Pende peoples, this distinctive headgear is now a symbol of prestige and power for Yaka chiefs.
Just as styles cross the globe today, fashions migrated between different African regions in the early twentieth century. First worn by Lunda chiefs as a status symbol, these elaborately beaded caps were later adopted by Pende, Yaka, and Suku chiefs. While the caps themselves were purchased from Pende artists, the beads were trade goods from Bohemia (Czech Republic). Intercultural and portable, these works demonstrate the fluidities of style and identity.
Kristen Windmuller-Luna, *16, Collections Research Specialist
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