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Man's Two-horned Cap, late 19th–early 20th century

This is a Man's two-horned cap. It is dated late 19th–early 20th century and we acquired it in 1960. Its medium is raffia, wool, cotton and its technique is twisted looping, overhand knotting, colored yarns overlaid. It is a part of the Textiles department.

This exquisite cap of office, made by a male specialist, features two striped jimbina, or horns. The horned cap was first described to Europeans by Giovanni Antonio Cavazzi da Montecuccolo, a Capuchin friar who lived in Angola from 1654 to 1670. An engraving of a chief wearing such a cap was included in his five-volume description of the lives of the Kongo and Mbundu peoples.[1]

[1] Giovanni Antonio Cavazzi da Montecuccolo, Istorica descrizione de’ tre’ regni: Congo, Matamba et Angola (Bologna: Per Giacomo Monti, 1687), referenced in Gordon D. Gibson and Cecilia R. McGurk, “High-Status Caps of the Kongo and Mbundu Peoples,” The Textile Museum Journal, IV, no. 4 (1977): 75.

This object was donated by Mrs. Benjamin Ginsburg. It is credited Gift of Mrs. Benjamin Ginsburg.

Our curators have highlighted 8 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • Gloves (Italy), 18th century
  • silk, metallic yarns, spangles.
  • Bequest of Richard Cranch Greenleaf in memory of his mother, Adeline Emma....
  • 1962-55-19-a,b

Its dimensions are

H x diam. (with horns): 19.1 x 15.2 cm (7 1/2 x 6 in.)

Cite this object as

Man's Two-horned Cap, late 19th–early 20th century; raffia, wool, cotton; H x diam. (with horns): 19.1 x 15.2 cm (7 1/2 x 6 in.); Gift of Mrs. Benjamin Ginsburg; 1960-242-1

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition David Adjaye Selects: Works from the Permanent Collection.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Man's Two-horned Cap, late 19th–early 20th century |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=14 October 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>