Fashions of the Pokot

Discover the traditional clothing, headdresses, and jewelry of Kenya's Pokot community

By National Museums of Kenya

BraceletNational Museums of Kenya

Meet the Pokot

The Pokot are a sub-community of the Kalenjin, known for their colorful beadwork and headdresses. Here we explore some of the Pokots' traditional decorative attire.

Young Pokot Man by Joy AdamsonNational Museums of Kenya

Headdress progression

This is the headdress of a young Pokot man about to undergo circumcision. The headdress is in the first phase of building up a chignon. As the young man's status progresses, so too does his headdress.

Headdress for circumcised menNational Museums of Kenya

One month after circumcision, circumcised boys would progress to wearing this a thin headdress, made from beads and fiber from the sokotwo tree. It would be worn on the head, with strings in front.

Young Pokot warrior by Joy AdamsonNational Museums of Kenya

This young Pokot warrior is pictured shortly after achieving adult status. He is wearing a headdress made of ostrich feather and black fur to denote his status.

Pokot Married Woman by Joy AdamsonNational Museums of Kenya

Women's jewelry

This is a Pokot married woman dressed with several strands of beaded necklaces and metallic earrings.

Her earrings are attached by a beaded string to hair-clips, and ornamented with bells, which denote her status and number of children.  

HeadbandNational Museums of Kenya

This is a headband worn by women of all ages for beauty. It is made of threads, beads, shells and aluminium coils.    

Skin capeNational Museums of Kenya

Men's ornaments

This leopard skin cape would have been used by the groom during a wedding, for jumping dances. 

CombNational Museums of Kenya

This is a small pronged wire comb covered with beautifully woven wire. The ends are covered with strands of coiled wire, which holds the ostrich feather. It was used for hair dressing and worn on the head as an ornament by young men who would wear a mud-pack hair-do.

HeaddressNational Museums of Kenya

This ceremonial headdress would have been worn by men during traditional ceremonies.

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