1970.78.10.0010 (Headdress)

1970.78.10.0010 (Headdress) image

This headdress has ivory feathers forming a three quarter fan around the band made from vine. There are black, blue, purple, yellow, and red macaw feathers that have been cut to be the same length at the base of the ivory king vulture feathers. The vines are wrapped in white, bright pink, and dark gray string and form a pattern that runs along the base of the feathers and ends with alternating stripes of gray to pink to gray to white along the featherless side of the headdress' band. When worn, the feathers will stand straight up because of the way they have been attached to the vine.

Crafting headdresses is a male craft among the Cashinahuans. Though women do know about the art, when interviewed around men they pretend to be ignorant. This headdress is classified among the Cashinahuans as "dani maiti" which titles it as a "body hair" or "body feather" headdress ("maiti" means "headdress" and "dani" means "body"). The name of the headdress is further changed to detail what kind of feather or hair was used in the making. This particular headdress was made with the body feathers from a King Vulture and decorated with Macaw feathers cut to be the same length. Because the Macaw feathers were cut, it is difficult to distinguish where on the Macaw the feathers originated, though it is common among the Cashinahuan men to use small feathers from areas like the legs, neck, and under-wing.

The dani maiti are made by tying the base of the body feathers to a strip of vine that has been cut and prepared with "bui"- a native mixture of wild rubber, chicle, and beeswax. There may be up to four flattened strips of vine, but only one of them will have the bui on it. Feathers are tied to the strip of vine in bunches of up to six feathers tied about 1cm apart from each other. Doing this enables the headdress to have volume because the feathers are often overlapping. When all the feathers that will be added to the strip are tied on it, the headdress is tied together with cotton and waxed string forming a circle that will fit upon the man's head. In this case, as is occasionally seen, the vine has been covered in a patterned design created by wrapping cotton string around it. It is very rare to see headdresses made with this kind of feather as normally they are crafted with feathers from a trumpeter bird, a white heron, or a wild turkey.

Dani maiti are crafted by men, often for their sons, for ceremonial events. Such events include "kacha nawa" (fertility ceremonies), "nishpu pi" (initiation rites), and "chidin" (the headman's ceremony).

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1970.78.10.0010 (Headdress) image
1970.78.10.0010 (Headdress) image
1970.78.10.0010 (Headdress) image