formed from a domed skeleton covered by intertwined thorns with sharp prickles, the bent twigs held in place by finer stems
The Songye people in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are a patriarchal society. Divided into almost 40 clans, they are presided over by a central chief, the ‘Yakitenge’. According to Bacquart, the role of the ‘Yakitenge’ requires him to adhere to strict social etiquettes such as 'not showing grief, not drinking in public and not shaking hands with men' (see Jean-Baptiste Bacquart, The Tribal Arts of Africa: Surveying Africa’s Artistic Geography
, London, 1998, p. 168).
This rare ceremonial judgement crown is made up of several thorny branches, entwined together to create a crown. The crown is used by the chief when passing judgement on a criminal in the local court. A symbol of his power and authority, by wearing the crown he receives spiritual help from the ancestors enabling him to make a fair and proper judgement.