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Prestige Hat

Origin Cameroon Grasslands
Title Prestige Hat
Date 19th–20th century
Medium Cotton and feathers
Dimensions Object: 4 1/2 × 10 in. (11.4 × 25.4 cm)
Overall: 4 1/2 × 10 in. (11.4 × 25.4 cm)
Credit Line Gift of Budd Stalnaker, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 2006.331

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About this Work

In many Cameroon Grasslands cultures, there is an inherited position of king or Fon that is supported by a secret men’s society. The elite men who have a great deal of control and influence in how the government is run display their wealth and power through a number of different material possessions, including what are known as prestige hats or caps. The production and use of these hats is restricted and regulated by the Fon. Elite men typically wear prestige hats during ceremonial occasions. These knitted hats often have other materials added indicating the wearer’s wealth and social position, such as feathers.

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.