Feather bonnet of Yellow Calf

Arapaho, about AD 1927
From the American West, North America

The bonnet is constructed from the immature tail feathers of a golden eagle over a cloth skull cap. The tips are decorated with hair symbolizing scalp locks. Such flared headdresses were originally representative of war honours.

Feathers were valuable in the nineteenth century, a full series of twelve being worth one pony. Eagles were captured in pit traps: a man would conceal himself in a brush-covered pit, with bait in the middle. The eagles were then be seized from below, with the hands and arms suitably protected.

Find in the collection online

More information

Bibliography

J.C.H. King, First peoples, first contacts: (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)

Dimensions

Height: 75.000 cm

Museum number

AOA 1939.Am22.1

ENA11349

Gift of G.M. Mathews

Location

Find in the collection online



Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore