It is rare to find beaded dolls surmounted on Kirdi head adornments. This ceremonial hat has been created from bound-together bands and strands of grass fibre. A leather attachment decorates the front and back of the hat. Two carved wooden dolls with fibre tresses and white beaded eyes stand atop the hat. Their arms and legs are signified by larger red beads, and their bodies are wrapped with strands of coloured beads.
Among the Kirdi of Cameroon, carved wooden dolls adorned with beads carry associations with fertility. Such fertility figures (ham pilu) were crafted by a newly engaged man for his wife to be, and represented their future child. The fiancée would care for the figure and carry it on her back until their child is born. The figure would thereafter be stored away as a family heirloom.
Ex Private Collection, Italy