This horned head adornment was worn by male musicians, traditional hunters and warriors in festivals associated with hunting and war, during ceremonial dances. The helmet incorporates animal tail hair and red cloth embellished with cowrie shells - a prestige material and potent symbol of wealth and power across the African continent. Old metal tacks decorate the wooden 'horns' of this impressively-sized head adornment.
Across northern Ghana and Burkina Faso, a type of horned helmet is worn by the Gurunsi, Mossi, Konkomba and related ethnic groups. Yet, headdresses such as this, with carved wooden horn simulacra, are hard to find.
Ex Private Collection, Italy
H (Excl. Stand): 54cm
M.J. Arnoldi & C.M. Kreamer (1995) Crowning Achievements: African Arts of Dressing the Head, p.23