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Chief’s frontlet headdress

Chief’s frontlet headdress

Chief’s frontlet headdress

Wood, abalone shell, pigment

H: 21.5; W: 16.2 cm

Gift of Faith-dorian and Martin Wright, New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum, in memory of Abraham Janoff

Accession number:

B94.0420

Arts/Americas

Wearing a frontlet headdress carved with an animal crest was a sign of social prestige for both men and women, a privilege handed down through the maternal line. Originally, this frontlet headdress was surmounted by protruding sea-lion whiskers, with ermine skins at the sides and a cloth trailer covered with rows of ermine skins at the back. The birds depicted on the frontlet are hawks, representing mythical creatures linked to the chief’s lineage.