Liminality / Mourning

By Monica Demott
(formerly University of Iowa)

CameroonBabanki peoples

Chief’s cap

Cotton, wool

H. 19.7 cm (7 3/4")

Detroit Institute of Arts, Founders Society Purchase, Eleanor Clay Ford Fund for African Art, F78.44

The unusual form of this cap suggests that it may be a version of the mpelet worn by royalty and high-ranking court officials for festive, ceremonial occasions in the second half of the nineteenth-century.  The mpelet is a rigid fiber construction with a triangular inset and is worn tipped back on the forehead.