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Mende term for a distinctive item of costume worn by performers and ritual participants in a wide variety of contexts. It consists of a collar or girdle of stiff ornamented leather flaps worn around the neck or waist. It may originally have served a protective purpose as body armour in warfare, but, if so, it seems to have acquired a wider, quasi-metaphorical function as protection against malign spiritual forces.

  • W.A.Hart, 'Kololewengoi and the myth of the big thing', RES, 2000, 37, 73-88.