Bwami Hat for Ngandu or Yananio Level
Arts of Africa
On View: African Storage Annex, East Gallery, 1st Floor
The small pangolin (a mammal with a scaly hide that protects itself by coiling into a ball) is worn by the members of Bwami’s Ngandu and Yananio grades. When associated with hats, the pangolin symbolizes piety and respect.
Plant fiber, mollusk shells, cowrie shells, buttons, pangolin scales, and pangolin tail
late 19th or early 20th century
Designated Purchase Fund
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Lega. Bwami Hat for Ngandu or Yananio Level
, late 19th or early 20th century. Plant fiber, mollusk shells, cowrie shells, buttons, pangolin scales, and pangolin tail
, 24 x 8 in. (61.0 x 20.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Designated Purchase Fund, 2011.3.2. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2011.3.2_front_PS6.jpg)
front, 2011.3.2_front_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2011
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Hat consisting of crossed plant stems that are woven together with plant material (possibly grasses or leaves). The inner structure has the stems placed in a diagonal swirling pattern while the outer structure is horizontal. This double layer makes for a solid cone form on to which is attached scales and the entire tail from a pangolin. The pangolin tail and scales appear to have been sewn on to the hat through round holes. Additionally attached to the substructure of the hat are two mussel or oyster shells and plastic buttons (white, red and blue). The strap is made from braided vegetable fiber decorated with buttons and conch shells. All the elements are sewn on with vegetable fiber. The shells and buttons are caked with a deep brown, black resinous material.
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