East African pastoralists in the Karamoja area of Uganda and northwestern Kenya have a long tradition of elaborate coiffures. Beginning a least since the beginning of the twentieth century, an increasing number of men wore removable hair caps such as this that allowed them to dress appropriately for ritual and other important occasions while maintaining short, carefree hair for daily wear. However, when Idi Amin seized power and became the Ugandan head of state in 1971, the wearing of traditional dress, including hair caps, was punished, leading to their decline.
Karamojong peoples, Uganda
Fiber, hair, pigment, clay, feathers
W. 7 ¼ in. (18.4 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Museum purchase with funds from the Class of 1949 Endowed Curatorship for the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, 2009.1