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Mudpack Coiffure (Emedot)

Arts of Africa

The Karamojong and other related peoples of western Kenya and Uganda are primarily nomadic cattle keepers. The focus of their visual art is body ornamentation, including elaborate mudpack coiffures worn by men. The hairstyle takes the form of a large bun of hair at the back of the head and an intricately designed area of colored clay above the forehead. The addition of rare, valuable ostrich feathers to the coiffure indicates the individual’s status as an elder or warrior.
CULTURE Karamojong
MEDIUM Organic material, pigment, human hair, plastic beads, ostrich feathers, chicken feathers
  • Place Made: Kenya
  • DATES 20th century
    DIMENSIONS 12 1/2 x 12 1/2 x 19 3/4 in. (31.8 x 31.8 x 50.1 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
    ACCESSION NUMBER 1996.112.2
    CREDIT LINE John W. James Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Casque-shaped wig with extended large flat chignon in rear; conical crown above forehead. Outer surface of chignon covered with human hair. Underside of chignon lined with cloth; hollow inner pocket used to carry valuables. Mud-plastered wig decorated with incised parallel lines. Distributed red, yellow and purple pigment on exterior. Between the crown and cap is a band of human hair; attached to the hair is a string of white, navy and red plastic beads. Inserted into aluminum rings at tip of crown and sides of cap are ostrich feathers; inserted into conical mound at top of coiffure are ostrich and chicken feathers. One aluminum ring remains empty on either side of cap. Condition: Crack in cap held together with gauze. Some feathers missing from aluminum rings.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Karamojong. Mudpack Coiffure (Emedot), 20th century. Organic material, pigment, human hair, plastic beads, ostrich feathers, chicken feathers, 12 1/2 x 12 1/2 x 19 3/4 in. (31.8 x 31.8 x 50.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, John W. James Fund, 1996.112.2. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1996.112.2_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 1996.112.2_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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