African gray parrot feathers, wood, plant fiber, probably cotton, string, and colorant

Diameter: 90 cm (35 7/16 in.)

Sundry Purchase Fund 2007.181


Did you know?

This headdress has an ingenious built-in storage system: it can be flipped inside out to encase the feathers within a rigid woven structure, protecting them during storage or travel.


Hundreds of red tail feathers from the grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) decorate this disk-shaped headdress. Only the king, some high-ranking individuals, and members of the all-male elephant society—known in different languages as Kuosi, Nekang, or Kem-ndze—wore this prestigious headgear at ceremonies and funerals. Typically, the headdress was worn pushed slightly back from the hairline. When used by members of the elephant society, it was accompanied by a cloth and glass bead mask (mbap mteng) in the shape of that animal, such as 1985.1082.

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