Skip Navigation

Headdress

Arts of the Americas

MEDIUM Wool, felt, cloth, golden eagle feathers, horse hair, glass beads, hide, weasel fur, silk, sinew
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
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact reproductions@brooklynmuseum.org (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact copyright@brooklynmuseum.org.
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 (Photo: Justin Kerr, X1053_SL1.jpg)
IMAGE overall, X1053_SL1.jpg. Justin Kerr photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
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
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.
Osage (Native American). <em>Headdress</em>, 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 (Photo: Justin Kerr, X1053_SL1.jpg)