Collections: Arts of the Americas: Headdress

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On View: Stela of Amenemhat

The four lines of hieroglyphic text at the top of this stela list what every Egyptian wanted in the afterlife: “thousands of portions ...

Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Hiroshige's 118 woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth-century Tokyo, is one of the greatest achievements of Japanese art.

    On View: Relief, Lute Player

    When still intact, the scene from which this relief comes showed one of Akhenaten's daughters playing a lute in a boat floating through reed...


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    X1053_SL1.jpg CUR.X1053_view1.jpg CUR.X1053_view2.jpg CUR.X1053_view3.jpg CUR.X1053_view4.jpg


    • Cultures: Osage, Native American; or Ponca, Native American
    • Medium: Wool, felt, cloth, golden eagle feathers, horse hair, glass beads, hide, weasel fur, silk, sinew
    • Place Made: Pawhuska, Oklahoma, United States
    • Dates: late 19th-early 20th century
    • Dimensions: 16 1/2 x 22 x 22 in. (41.9 x 55.9 x 55.9 cm)  (show scale)
    • Collections:Arts of the Americas
    • Museum Location: This item is not on view
    • Accession Number: X1053
    • Credit Line: Brooklyn Museum Collection
    • Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
    • Caption: Osage (Native American). Headdress, late 19th-early 20th century. Wool, felt, cloth, golden eagle feathers, horse hair, glass beads, hide, weasel fur, silk, sinew, 16 1/2 x 22 x 22 in. (41.9 x 55.9 x 55.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Museum Collection, X1053. Creative Commons-BY
    • Image: overall, X1053_SL1.jpg. Justin Kerr photograph
    • Catalogue Description: Immature golden eagle feather headdress with a beaded headband. Base of feathers wrapped in red felt and made over a felt hat base. Streamers of weasel fur and cloth dangle from headband sides. These types of war bonnets were historically worn for special occasions and may occasionally be worn on the battle field (although men often wore one or two special feathers instead). A man earned the right to make one through his brave deeds. Initially he would be awarded a single feather for each deed; a coup, killing, or horse stealing success. Once he accumulated ten feathers he was generally given permission to obtain the eagle feathers for a full bonnet. Ideally they would have 28 eagle feathers and each may have additional notching to designate an event. The tips of the feathers could be tied with the horsehair if a man had counted many coups. Thus the bonnets became oral histories and each piece signified events in the warrior's life. Feathers were very valuable, i.e., 12 feathers equaled 1 horse. These were worn by warriors, not necessarily "chiefs". Only a few very high ranked warriors would have the bonnets with the long trailers down the back. Today bonnets are still made as recognition for achievements in life, dedication to their community as well as war participation. Golden eagles are a protected bird and Non-natives may not use them, buy them or transport them without special permits.
    • Record Completeness: Good (73%)
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