The King and Kuosi society members in Bandjoun l930.
I have been waiting with bated breath to share the BlackDot Juju joy with you for sometime now. Finally, the extra-large and incredibly colourful package of beautiful Bamileke or Juju hats has landed via the handsome hands of our African man about town/primitive art dealer extraordinaire, Richard Tchemengue. Richard himself is from the Bamileke tribe and has been importing feather hats (amongst much other beauty) from his native Cameroon into the U.K. for twenty years. He has a long-established relationship with the women who created these specific hats and pays them fairly for their craft. We are lucky enough to have some rare colours amongst our Juju booty – some seen below, all of which are available to buy via our website.
If like me, you’re interested in the provenance of such beauty? You’ll be keen to learn that the Juju hats have been worn by the Kuosi society for hundreds if not thousands of years. In the Bamileke, the Kuosi society – formerly a warrior society, report directly to the King and are responsible for dramatic masquerading displays as part of public dance celebrations in a display of the Kingdom’s wealth. These societies are closed to outsiders, and only those who have the authorization to partake in the various activities are able to do so. Each society has its own special house, its own masks, costumes, dances and a secret language, and in acting on behalf of the King, they establish order and preserve social and religious structures of the Kingdom. It’s interesting to note also, that such rituals stem from the belief that the universe and cosmos are in balance and are a means by which this balance can be restored when things go awry. Not just an awesome, decorative object for your wall then.
I have long been obsessed with the rituals, dress and celebrations within World cultures, and it is a dream come true for me to be able to share these incredible and ritualistic feather headdresses with you as part of BlackDot Co-op’s commitment to representing fabulous and fairtrade wonders from the world. Our initial collection of Bamileke feather hats are live on our website now. Currently, we are selling within the U.K only. Best be quick, they’re selling like hotties.
All images apart from our own collection of Juju hats are from the fab and super informative randarfricanart.com – with thanks.