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Man's Cap (laket) (Democratic Republic of the Congo), late 19th–early 20th century

This is a Man's cap (laket). It is dated late 19th–early 20th century and we acquired it in 1957. Its medium is raffia and its technique is looped raffia over foundation element. It is a part of the Textiles department.

Kuba male titleholders, or those who have been initiated into Kuba society, wear a small, conical, scalloped-edged hat called a laket. Characterized by subtle ornamentation, the hats are of undyed, coiled raffia, which may be decorated with openwork embroidery or small amounts of dyed black raffia. The hat is worn perched on the crown of the head, secured with a long brass or iron pin.
Social standing is reflected in the cap’s ornamentation, and as men rose in rank, their headwear changed to reflect their status. The addition of beads, shells, pompoms, or feathers could reflect new honors or achievements.

This object was featured in our Object of the Day series in a post titled Full Dress Uniform.

It is credited Museum purchase from Au Panier Fleuri Fund.

Our curators have highlighted 11 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

Its dimensions are

H x diam.: 16.5 x 23.5 cm (6 1/2 x 9 1/4 in.)

Cite this object as

Man's Cap (laket) (Democratic Republic of the Congo), late 19th–early 20th century; raffia; H x diam.: 16.5 x 23.5 cm (6 1/2 x 9 1/4 in.); Museum purchase from Au Panier Fleuri Fund; 1957-110-14

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition David Adjaye Selects: Works from the Permanent Collection.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Man's Cap (laket) (Democratic Republic of the Congo), late 19th–early 20th century |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=20 January 2020 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>