In Barbara’s notes, this hat was acquired from an antique shop in Bali and is a “Torajan Headman’s hat”. We found little information on this hat during the research; the only photo information that surfaced relate the hat to the unusual funeral ritual of the Torajans.
The Torajans are an ethnic group indigenous to a mountainous region of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. They are renowned for their elaborate funeral rites, burial sites carved into rocky cliffs, massive peaked-roof traditional houses known as tongkonan, and colourful wood carvings.
Toraja funeral rites are important social events, usually attended by hundreds of people and lasting for several days, with songs and dances, water buffalo fights and sacrifices. Mile-long processions move through a village, and finally, the coffin will be placed on the cliff, with an effigy displayed outside.
A highly detailed carved effigy of the deceased is created as a part of the traditional funeral practice for viewing and procession, and here we see a hat identical to Barbara’s is here. Whether this hat is explicitly made for this occasion is not known, as in other photos of the funeral, different types of hats are seen.