IU

Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

Headdress

Hundreds of feathers are individually attached to a fiber cap made with a knotless netting technique. The feathers’ fragility creates carrying and storage problems, which were ingeniously solved by attaching the feathers to the cap in such a way that the cap can be turned inside out, enclosing the feathers in a compact bundle. Most frequently associated with the Bamileke, feathered headdresses such as this are also worn throughout the Grasslands, most often by important dancers, particularly the head of the group. In at least one kingdom, Mankon, they are traditionally worn by princes who perform at funerary and commemorative ceremonies for members of the royal family, and at dance competitions.

Grasslands, Cameroon
Headdress
20th century
Feathers, fiber
Diam. 26 in. (66.0 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of Budd Stalnaker, 2006.324