woman's headdress

Lega peopleearly to mid 1900s

Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields

Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields

This headdress has a small 3-inch diameter base on which a thin cylinder of similar materials is attached. The base of the headdress is created out of a nearly continuous 1/16-inch thick round reed. This light colored reed spirals in towards the center, and it is secured in place with a thin piece of raffia. The raffia travels in rows towards the center of the base; additionally the same raffia secures multiple pieces of reed to the bottom of the base. Here the reeds are placed perpendicular to the spiraling reeds (much like spokes) to reinforce the base. The outer edge of the base is finished with a 2-ply bast fiber. This fiber is twisted and knotted in such a way to create an open interlocking structure.

A thin 1/2-inch cylinder is attached to the center of the base and rises up 3-inches. The structure of this cylinder is provided with a piece of porous wood. This wood runs up though the center of the cylinder, the edge of which can be seen below the base. The same plied bast fiber used to finish the edge of the base is knotted up the length of the cylinder, resulting in an open work pattern. At the top of the cylinder 6 cowries are attached with bast fiber. Erupting from the top of the cylinder are numerous tan, brown, and orange feathers. These feathers fan out in all directions, and they are attached to the cylinder structure with plied bast fiber.

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  • Title: woman's headdress
  • Creator: Lega people
  • Date Created: early to mid 1900s
  • Rights: No Known Rights Holder
  • Medium / Support: feathers, raffia, cowries, wood reed, bast fiber threads, cotton
  • External Link: See this object at www.imamuseum.org
  • Dimensions: L: 16 in. W: 7 5/8 in. (top at feathers)
  • Department: Textile and Fashion Arts
  • Credit Line: Jane Weldon Myers Acquisition Fund
  • Accession Number: 2011.207