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Hat

  • Place of origin:

    Shan (made)

  • Date:

    first quarter 20th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Palmyra palm leaf, beads and seeds

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mr R. Grant Brown, Esq.

  • Museum number:

    IM.77G-1922

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This palm-leaf hat is part of an arresting costume of dark hues, subtle patterns and brilliant silver work. It would have been worn as an every day garment, as well as on special occasions, by a woman of the Akha hill tribe of Kentung State--the eastern most state of Burma which borders Thailand. The hat is strikingly is decorated with rings of glass beads, seeds and straw-work and a heavy fringe of coloured glass beads and side strings of white seeds and brightly coloured tassels.

The ensemble was worn by an Akha woman on a visit to Mandalay, and there it was purchased from her by the donor. The whole costume includes a jacket with two long swinging ropes of beads and seeds which hang at each side, a gathered skirt, a breast cloth, separate leggings, as well as personal ornaments.

The Akha are a farming people with deep beliefs in the supernatural and they celebrate not only the usual harvest and new year festivals, but also hold ceremonies accompanied by animal sacrifices and other rituals. The Akha originally came from Yunnan in Southern China and a Chinese influence is evident in the scrolling appliqué work in the panels at the bottom of the back of the jacket.

Physical description

Conical hat of palmyra palm leaf covered with rings of glass beads, seeds and straw-work. On the front hangs a fringe of coloured glass beads of various sizes, and at the sides hang strings of white seeds and brightly coloured tassels.

Place of Origin

Shan (made)

Date

first quarter 20th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Palmyra palm leaf, beads and seeds

Object history note

The costume was worn by a girl of the Akha Tribe of the Southern Shan States on a visit to Mandalay and was there purchased from her by the Donor.

Hat from a costume worn by a woman of the Akha hill tribe of Kentung District, Southern Shan States Burma. An ensemble that includes personal ornaments and a distinctive conical hat as well as a jacket, gathered skirt, breast cloth, separate leggings. Mainly of black cotton fabric, with applique of bright and variously coloured cottons, and embroidery of beads (glass and seeds) and cowrie shells. ca. 1st quarter 20th century.

Descriptive line

Conical hat of palmyra palm leaf covered with glass beads, seeds and straw-work, Shan, first quarter of 20th century

Production Note

Attribution note: Made by a woman of the Akha Tribe.

Materials

Palm leaf; Beads; Seeds

Techniques

Formed; Stitched

Categories

Women's clothes; Hats & headwear; Textiles; Accessories

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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