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Prestige Hat

Origin Cameroon Grasslands
Title Prestige Hat
Date 20th century
Medium Cotton fiber and wood
Dimensions Object: 6 1/4 × 9 1/4 × 9 1/4 in. (15.9 × 23.5 × 23.5 cm)
Overall (includes mount): 9 1/2 × 9 1/4 × 9 1/4 in. (24.1 × 23.5 × 23.5 cm)
Credit Line Gift of Budd Stalnaker in honor of William and Diane Itter, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 2004.27

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About this Work

The Grasslands of western Cameroon is a region known for its diversity. Even the hat, a ubiquitous element of attire, makes this point very clearly: historically, throughout the area, free men were expected to cover their heads, and, as a result, an astonishing variety of everyday and ceremonial head coverings were created. While common men might wear plain, unornamented hats, more exalted men, and sometimes women, turned to elaborate headgear as indicators of status and position, with decoration ranging from colorful stripes and embroidered and appliquéd patterns to added materials, such as beads, seeds, quills, elephant tail-hair, and coins. This hat is from a collection of over seventy, primarily from West and Central Africa, given to the museum by Budd Stalnaker (1937–2006), who was a fiber artist and professor emeritus in Indiana University’s School of Fine Arts.

Provenance research is ongoing for this and many other items in the Eskenazi Museum of Art permanent collection. For more information about the provenance of this artwork, please contact the department curator with specific questions.

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"Prestige Hat | Collections Online." Collections Online. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 2023.