Dance hat

This dance hat is made of red plaited cane, decorated with two metal discs. The rim of the helmet is trimmed with four red strips of bright red cane. This hat was collected by William Ninnis Porter and can be dated to the late 1800s, though the exact provenance is unknown. Documentary evidence indicates that it was certainly of the type worn in the animistic ritual of the Manau festival, which is the most strongly associated ritual amongst the Jinghpaw communities of the Kachin State. Photographic evidence taken by J.H. Green and documented in ‘Burma Frontier Photographs’ show examples of the ritualistic dance hat being worn by the ‘Nung Naushawng’ (dance leaders) – photos 1246, and 1018, (Dell 2000: 110/113). As noted by Green in 1934, ‘The Dumas and elders on ceremonial occasions wear red plaited cane helmets which are almost identical with some Naga helmets’. It is here that one observes the cross-cultural influences between the Naga of Nagaland, India, and the Northern and bordering tribes of Burma.

Object Summary

Accession Loan No.
Collection Class
Clothing and accessories
Collection Area Region
Common Name
dance hat
Simple Name
Production County
Kachin State
Production Country

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dance hat