By Victoria Rovine
University of Florida (formerly University of Iowa)
All over the world, people wear hats, crowns, and other forms of headgear to indicate their status and their profession or simply to adorn themselves. In Africa, hats and head ties are often an important element of daily and ceremonial attire. This Babanki hat, called ashetu, is made of looped and woven cotton and was likely worn by a man of high status. Like the other kingdoms of Cameroon, Bamileke was highly stratified and so developed a rich tradition of clothing and other personal adornments that reflect the many positions held by the royal family, members of the court, and lesser officials. In the field photograph the king is wearing just such a hat.