|Title||Old Bamileke Royal Hat Fingerlings Cameroon African Art|
|Type of Object||Textiles, Hat|
|Country of Origin||Cameroon|
|Approximate Age||20th Century|
|Overall Condition||Fair. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners. Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use. We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings. Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.|
|Damage/Repair||Dirty, some odor remains, torn strands and small holes|
We do not recommend laundering textiles, and do not accept returns of textiles which have been laundered in any manner. Even dry cleaning is too much for some of these antique textiles. For some of them, a very gentle HAND washing (NEVER MACHINE, on any setting) in cool water with a very gentle detergent works, but even then, dyes may not be colorfast, and fabric may be less strong than it appears.
Additional Information: A beautifully designed cotton hat with fingerlings. In Cameroon Grasslands region hats are made in wide variety of media such as vegetable fiber, cotton, and feathers, and in different shapes. This one is made with cotton threads using "crochet" technique. Hats are part of prestigious regalia in the Cameroon grasslands. They are worn by men during special ceremonies. It is unimaginable to see a notable in an outfit without his hat. Rather than a simple accessory hat could be an indication of the owner's social rank and status. These sculptural hats are sometimes represented on carved figures. This hat is in good condition, although it does show signs of significant age.
The Grasslands is dominated today by three large cultures: the Bamun, Bamileke, and the Bamenda Tikar. Each village is led by a primary chief, or "Fon." All people in the area are expected to pay allegiance to this leader. Each Fon is selected by his predecessor, based on the dominant lineage within that community. The Fon is served by a council of elders, who advise him on all important decisions and who also play an important role in the selection of the next Fon. Most chiefs serve for a lifetime, abdicating the throne only when near death. Complex societies also help to structure the community, and the Fon oversees these as well. Most large sculpture from this area is produced for the Fon, not only to honor him but for his personal use and display.
For wonderful examples and more information, see Northern's EXPRESSIONS OF CAMEROON ART.