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Eagle Feather Headdress

Unknownca. 1875

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Headdresses are among the most spectacular and compelling objects of all Native American ceremonial regalia. The man who wore this magnificent eagle feather war bonnet would have been known for his military achievement, personal valor and leadership. Each tail feather represents a distinct honor earned in war by the wearer or other tribal members, and the headdress in its totality symbolizes the owner’s bravery, political stature and responsibility to the people. Only the greatest warriors would presume to wear one in battle or ceremonial events, and in pre-reservation times few men achieved this honor. By the beginning of the 20th century, however, eagle feather headdresses had become the prevailing symbol of Native American identity throughout North America, and much of their original significance was lost.

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Details

  • Title: Eagle Feather Headdress
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: ca. 1875
  • Physical Dimensions: h1778 in
  • Culture: Northern Cheyenne
  • Type: Unknown
  • Rights: Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust
  • External Link: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
  • Medium: Eagle, hawk, owl and raven feathers, rawhide, native leather, wool and cotton cloth, glass beads, ermine skin, silk ribbon and horsehair

Additional Items

Eagle Feather Headdress (Supplemental)

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