Woman's hat (isicholo)

Zulu peoples
mid 20th-century


Object Place: South Africa

Dimensions

Overall: 10.2 x 46.4 cm (4 x 18 1/4 in.)

Accession Number

2009.5342

Medium or Technique

Cotton, human hair, red ochre over grass-fiber basketry frame

Not On View

Collections

Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art, Textiles and Fashion Arts

Classifications

Textiles

Amongst many African communities, headwear and hairstyles are important signifiers of social, religious, and political status that can represent deeply held cultural beliefs. Many Zulu women wear this type of flared hat (isicholo), which was traditionally reserved for married women. Today, this type of hat has been adopted as part of “traditional” Zulu dress ensembles and is worn almost exclusively during ceremonial events and pageants.

Provenance

Between 1980s and 1990s, acquired in Paris by anonymous donors; 2009, anonymous gift to the MFA. (Accession date: January 20, 2010)

Credit Line

Anonymous gift