Tunic

Date: 19th century

Culture: African (Bamileke peoples)

Medium: Sisal, human hair

Dimensions: Overall: 40 15/16 x 34 1/4 in. (104 x 87 cm)

Credit Line: Purchase, Janet A. Sloane Gift Fund, 1994

Accession Number: 1994.413.2

Description

The small round tufts of human hair embroidered on the ground fabric of this tunic are symbolic of the leopard. In this region of Africa, the leopard is the most revered animal of the natural world, embodying the qualities of leadership and power. Worn for masquerade, the potent symbolism of the tunic transforms the wearer by imparting the noble traits of the leopard.

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