Hat (Kalyeem)

Hat (Kalyeem)

possibly early 1900s

Raffia, glass beads, cowrie shells, cloth (including wool), thread, and copper alloy

Overall: 29 x 23 x 23 cm (11 7/16 x 9 1/16 x 9 1/16 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1998.29


Kuba men (and some women) show their title and status with hats and hat accessories. The male owner of this heavily beaded and shell-covered hat (kalyeem) had a senior title. A simple coiled basketry hat forms its foundation (similar to 1915.465). Fabric panels stitched with zig-zagging white and blue beads edged in cowries hang from the top. White bead strands with cowrie shells flow downward, pushed out over the forehead by a large brim. Technically and aesthetically, beaded Kuba hats and masks have much in common; artists specializing in beading techniques had the skills to make both, using imported beads and shells.

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