Kuba Art and Rule
by Joseph Aurélien Cornet (1919 - 2004)
Formerly Institute for National Museums of Congo
Among the Kuba, nephews or cousins of the king usually have limited power. This one is a nyimbal’k, a judge who presides after an accident occurs. After seeing him in his everyday dress, typically a European suit, one is astonished by his transformation by the wearing of traditional regalia. His wrapper is a foreign textile, and is not embroidered, except for the border. The collar is unique and is worn bandoleer style. He wears a single bracelet on his wrist. Only the collar of fur identifies him as a member of the royal family. Everything is carefully controlled and reflects his rank. Good taste, reasonable proportion, and a noble attitude are the perfect and most eloquent expression of the status of the wearer of this costume.