possibly early 1900s
Plant fiber, rawhide or leather, glass beads, seashells, cowrie shells, cloth, and colorant
Overall: 139.5 cm (54 15/16 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1994.87
Cowry shells, a type of currency used in the Kuba Kingdom in Central Africa, decorate this belt made for a king. The intricate patterns and colors of the beads indicate the high status of the wearer as well as the wealth of his kingdom.
Belts are one of the many accessories that accompany a wrapper. The most spectacular of the different types of belts is the one called yet, which can only be worn by male and female members of the royal family. The king himself displays it on the day following his actual installation. In the past, the Kuba king commissioned his wardrobe from a specialized guild of tailors.
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