Red, felt, miter-shaped hat with lateral flaps that terminate in gold-colored tassles. An internal wood frame sewn inot the central "spine" of the hat keeps its peaked shape. Two figures are delicately embroidered with yellow thread, one on each side of the hat. The figre on its left resembles a lizard with a small round head and long tail. The figure on the right is human and appears to be wearing a costume. A narrow strip of green fabric covers the extermal, central spine or seam of the hat. The hat's interior is green.
Peaked or “miter-style” hats are found in many parts of west Africa. This hat is of undetermined origin and might best be viewed as a visual document of aesthetic mixing between several different cultural groups. Its color and shape suggest it may haven been inspired by a type known in the Mande language as bambada, or crocodile’s mouth, named for the lateral tapers that resemble the open jaws of a crocodile, which was worn by warriors of the Mande-speaking groups from the western Sahel. The fine stitch work and design resembles that of Manding embroiderers, whose designs can be found on garments throughout the region. The hat also resembles a style worn by men in western Cameroon, which was strongly influenced by Hausa fashions brought by traders from northern Nigeria in the late 19th century.
Face mask embroidered extensively wtih glass beads. Two long panels hang down the front and back of the wearer. Humanoid face at top has two round eye holes allowing the wearer to see, a strip of fabric for nose and open, upturned mouth. Ears are protruding disks attached on either side of the face . Top of the head is covered with small, corklike knobs covered with black cloth. The beadwork is predominantly green, with intricate, scallop-shaped patterns along edge of panels, and vertical, star-like patterns filling center of the panels. Interior of panels is lined with damask.
Stylized images of the elephant abound in the pageantry that surrounded Bamileke kings and men of distinction. The elephant masquerade was danced by members of powerful men’s regulatory societies that oversaw the ritual and judicial affairs of the kingdom. Performed at royal festivals and funerals, these masks honored the authority of leadership and the transcendental forces of the forest.
Miter-shaped hat with double layer of fabric made from whorls of light-colored cotton applique on dark green velveteen ground. Sides of hat terminate in red tassels. Front edge of hat is trimmed with red fabric.
In the Grassfields region of western Cameroon, his type of hat was reserved for chiefs and elders to denote their authority. Its style of appliqué is influenced by Hausa aesthetic ideas.