The blackened leather and decorative program of this extraordinary Akan hat indicate that it was worn by a person of high military rank. Like the hardened leather amulets covering Akan war shirts, the thick leather of this helmet serves as armor. Attached to its surface are miniature representations of functional and ceremonial weapons. The rifles along the perimeter are based on the double- barreled flintlock rifles used by the British army in Ghana and symbolize military power. Powder kegs surmounting the hat suggest the wearer’s readiness to enter battle. State ceremonial swords with their characteristic curved blades, openwork design, and barbell-shaped handles are centrally placed, emblematic of bravery and valor; military officers took oaths of allegiance on such swords.
Princeton University Art Museum: Handbook of the Collections, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Art Museum, 2013).
Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton University Art Museum: Handbook of the Collection, (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007).
"The checklist of the John B. Elliott Bequest," Record of the Princeton University Art Museum 61 (2002): p. 49-99.
"Selected checklist of objects in the collection of African art," Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University 58, no. 1/2 (1999): p. 77–83.