Headdress - ROM2016_15387_3

ROM2016_15387_3

Headdress

Maker: Dakelh (Carrier)
Medium:Human hair, baleen, depilated skin, sinew, bast fibre, dentalium shell
Geography: Stuart Lake region, interior British Columbia, Canada
Date: early-mid 19th century
Dimensions:
97 x 36 x 5 cm
Object number: NS6232
On view
Gallery Location:Daphne Cockwell Gallery dedicated to First Peoples art & culture
DescriptionThese extremely rare headdresses (the only two known to exist) are made from the hair of Uza-ne women, but worn by Uza-ne men. Father Morice wrote that the hair was cut following death and that the hair of two women was required for one headdress.
Among the Dakelhne, descent was traced through the female and the headdresses from the hair of Uza-ne women were a fundamental part of the nobleman's hereditary title.
Both headdresses are embellished with dentalium shells acquired through trade with coastal peoples. Dentalium shells were highly prized, accessible only to the Uza-ne class, and represented a visible symbol of status.
The ermine skins and baleen crowning the wigs may represent crests that act as symbols of clan identification associated with the myth-world. Thus, dentalium shells as symbols of wealth, in association with crest symbols identified with the myth-world, tie the Uza-ne to Dakelh notions of wealth, social stratification, kinship, and worldview.
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