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Karamojong Hair Cap Wig Etimat Uganda African Art

Product #: 82949
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Title Karamojong Hair Cap Wig Etimat Uganda African Art
Type of Object Hat, hair cap, wig
Country of Origin Uganda
People Karamojong
Materials human hair, wire
Approximate Age contemporary
Dimensions Length is 9.5 inches x Heights is 6 inches.
Overall Condition Good. 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.

Karamojong Cap Etimat Uganda Africa

Additional Information:

A rare hat also known as removable hair cap. Such caps are found among several peoples of Eastern Africa such as the Karamojong, Turkana, Maasai, Toposa and Sa.  These caps are called etimat by the karamojong . But they have specific names based on their forms. This particular headdress could be of epukot type:The frame of this special hat is made out of wire. The human hair is intertwined together with tree sap bended together with wires. The gear  is covered with human hair sewn throughout the wire frame. The surface is also covered with human hair. 

Like their related people the Turkana and  the Maasai, cattle are an important resource of their economy and their life and culture are revolved around the herding of cattle. The elders lead the group. They are assisted by the young Warrior generation in charge of social control and peacekeeping. Such hats were worn by any male members of the community during special events.  Young warriors wore hats such and many other variants of caps to symbolize their status and to distinguish themselves from other social classes in the society. It's usually during ceremonies and other social events that the young warriors would wear their headdresses, symbol of their pride. The feathers are symbols of bravery and courage.  Such headdresses are also part of male adornments. It should be noted that the Karamojong and related  peoples are very famous for their body ornaments, jewelry, leatherwork and beadwork. Additional  materials used to decorate such caps include  feathers, leather and beads. Up to date these headdresses are still worn by men during important ceremonies as part of a personal adornment. The time devoted to make and repair such objects tells all about their place and function in their culture.

For more information on these caps and similar examples read, the recent article by Gustaaf Verswijver " Removable Hair Caps of Karamoja (Uganda)' in African Arts, Vol. 43, No 4, Winter 2010, pp. 60-71

See photos of similar type of headdresses in Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher African Ark, 1990 and in Ducan Clarke, African Hats and Jewelry, 1998, especially a feather-adorned mud cap from the Pokot on pages 90-91

I have examined this piece and agree with the description

Niangi Batulukisi, PhD.