About this artwork
As an emblem of his combined political and spiritual responsibilities, a Yaka chief wore a hat of knotted, netted, and woven raffia that was charged with medicinal ingredients. An elaborately carved neckrest served as another part of his insignia. While it served the practical purpose of protecting the chief’s headgear while he slept, the imagery of this example—which may have held medicines in its interior—likely reflects the Yaka buildings on stilts that housed powerful ritual objects.
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- 16.7 × 9.8 × 17.4 cm (6 5/8 × 3 7/8 × 6 7/8 in.)
- Gift of George F. Harding