This dramatic cap or hat is from the Luo people who are native to western Kenya and the Mara Region of northern Tanzania in East Africa. The cap is covered in fine beadwork in irregularly-shaped white, red, and cobalt-blue European trade beads that are either Venetian or Dutch. These date to between 1880 and 1920.) Our dating for the hat or around 1910 is based in the date of when these beads were in production.)
The beading is over a cotton and rattan substrate.
The twelve warthog tusks (leke njiri) are attached to a strip of bark via rattan bindings. These protrude out and upwards. The strip wraps around the front of the hat and is attached to the hat by having been sewn onto the hat substrate. The pig tusk fringe appears to have been re-sewn onto the substrate but old remains of the original thread used to attach it do remain, and these threads have clear age.
The hat is in an excellent, stable condition. The beads, hat, tusks and rattan all have signs of age. Bead losses are minimal.
A Luo man, photographed in 1936. (Courtesy of the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford.)
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Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford: http://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/Luo/luo/photo/1998.349.58.1/index.html