Art/ Collection/ Art Object


19th century
African (Bamileke peoples)
Sisal, human hair
Credit Line:
Purchase, Janet A. Sloane Gift Fund, 1994
Accession Number:
Not on view
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.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Dress Rehearsal," August 1, 2001–October 28, 2001.

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