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Mudpack Coiffure (Emedot)

The Karamojong and other related people of western Kenya and Uganda are primarily nomadic cattle keepers. They produce no sculpture but instead focus their visual arts on body ornamentation, including elaborate mudpack coiffures worn by men. The hairstyles take the form of a large bun of hair at the back of the head and an intricately designed area of colored clay above the forehead. The addition of rare, valuable ostrich feathers to this coiffure indicates the individual's status as an elder or warrior. Normally, these hairstyles are produced incorporating the actual hair of the wearer, but occasionally removable wigs are used instead.

Catalogue Description:
Casque-shaped wig with extended large flat chignon in rear; conical crown above forehead. Outer surface of chignon covered with human hair. Underside of chignon lined with cloth; hollow inner pocket used to carry valuables. Mud-plastered wig decorated with incised parallel lines. Distributed red, yellow and purple pigment on exterior. Between the crown and cap is a band of human hair; attached to the hair is a string of white, navy and red plastic beads. Inserted into aluminum rings at tip of crown and sides of cap are ostrich feathers; inserted into conical mound at top of coiffure are ostrich and chicken feathers. One aluminum ring remains empty on either side of cap. Condition: Crack in cap held together with gauze. Some feathers missing from aluminum rings.


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