Throughout the Cameroon Grasslands, men employ headwear, along with other forms of dress, as visual assertions of rank and status. A multitude of miniature clay balls have been attached to a woven-fibre cap to create this Bamileke chieftain's hat. It is rarer to find Bamileke hats produced with clay, as opposed to beads and raffia fibre. Amazingly, in the process of producing this head adornment, hundreds of small clay balls would have been individually attached to the woven cap with tiny strands of fibre. The arrangement of small clay 'beads', each attached to the woven fibre cap, has the appearance of projecting tufts of hair. Adorning the top of the hat is a strand of British King George VI coins and larger beads - converting currency into visual symbols of title and prestige.
Estimated Period: Mid-20th Century (Or Before)
Ex Private Collection, Italy
(Click on images to enlarge)