The Juju Hat And Its Origins
The Juju Hat or as they are called in Cameroon the Bamileke or Tyn hats from the Bamileke tribes have come a long way from being traditional ceremonial headdress to adourning beautiful interior designer homes as contemporary wall hangings.
For hundreds of years the Bamileke tribes have been creating these hats for their tribal chiefs, royal families and dignitaries to wear during tribal ceremonies. Often wearing them with the Elephant Mask or Mbap Mteng( black and white image below) which denotes power and wealth in its wearers. The hats are significant when an elder dies as it is passed down to the next in line who may inherit the wealth and standing of the person that has died. Juju hats are also worn during festivities and ceremonial dances.
Intricately made by villagers in rural Cameroon. Each hat is unique and takes 2-3 days to complete. These artisans have been making these hats for years and are master weavers. They are made during the dry months of the year so the grass and feathers can dry before manufacture. The grass base of the hats are delicately woven to create a strong backing for the wood slats which run up the sides creating a large circular platform for all the cured and dyed feathers which are then fitted one at a time to create the beautiful textured Juju Hats which are so appealing. The Juju hat folds up into itself to be very portable when moving or storing. If you were to go to Cameroon or any good markets in Sub-Saharan Africa you will find Juju Hats being sold to local people and tourists.
Today the Juju Hat, whilst still being used in Cameroon for ceremonial reasons, has become a contemporary and colourful wall hanging for homes, hotels, bars, restaurants and all types of interior spaces. They are used by renowned interior designers for their clients, they are blogged about seen, on TV and sold all over the world in markets, shops and online stores. The Juju hat adds texture and colour and embodies that raw sense of being from Africa, wild and untamed. It sits on the wall spectacular in its abundance of shades and shapes. A true contender as an Iconic designer piece.