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Festival Hat

Decorative Arts

Native officials, called curacas, wore a hat like this during dances at festivals in the silver mining areas of Bolivia. Silver was one of the natural resources Spain sought from its American conquests, but here it adorns a native costume. The hand-formed plaques on the hat represent both native and European flora and fauna, real and imagined. The triangular shape in the middle of the crown may represent the Cerro de Potosí, the very mountain from which silver was mined.
CULTURE Possibly Aymara
MEDIUM Repoussé silver plaques on velvet, glass beads, wire
  • Possible Place Made: Potosi, Bolivia
  • DATES 18th century
    DIMENSIONS 4 15/16 x 13 1/4 x 13 1/4 in. (12.5 x 33.7 x 33.7 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Decorative Arts
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 41.1275.274c
    CREDIT LINE Museum Expedition 1941, Frank L. Babbott Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Possibly Aymara. Festival Hat, 18th century. Repoussé silver plaques on velvet, glass beads, wire, 4 15/16 x 13 1/4 x 13 1/4 in. (12.5 x 33.7 x 33.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1941, Frank L. Babbott Fund, 41.1275.274c. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, 41.1275.274c_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum 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 Silver hat, part of a ceremonial costume consisting of a jacket and knee breeches which are in the collection of the Industrial design lab. High rounded crown and circular brim. Damasked purplish red velvet with floral pattern is under silver ornament. Lining of the hat is orange and white printed cotton flannel. The silver designs consist of vase and flowers, cornucopia, birds, elephant and dogs, strawberries, lion, chicken, moon, sun, church, llamas, mermaids playing mandolins etc. Streamers of silver chain hang down the back.
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