X96.3.8 Beaded dog-eared cap

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Beaded dog-eared cap
Yoruba peoples
Cloth and beads
H: 34 cm, W: 27 cm, D: 4 cm (H: 13.3 in, W: 10.6 in, D: 1.5 in)
Fowler Museum at UCLA. Museum Purchase. X96.3.8


Dog-eared cloth caps were a popular Yoruba men’s fashion in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, especially among hunters and rural populations. Covering the cap in beads transforms it from an item of everyday use to something reserved for special persons and occasions. Devotees of the orisa, especially those in western Yoruba areas like Ohori, Ketu, and Anago still continue to create elaborate beaded regalia for priests and priestesses who are, like rulers, ekeji orisa (deputies of gods). This hat may have adorned the head of a priest of Osoosi, the hunter god. Note the crocodile embedded in the complex circular pattern of beads on the left side of the hat. The remnant of a veil adheres to the front edge of the cap. The bird at the summit evokes the mediating role of the wearer, as flying creatures negotiate both earth and sky.

Source: Drewal, H., Mason, J. (1998). “Beads, Body, and Soul – Art and Light in the Yoruba Universe”, Los Angeles: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History. page 264