Bamileke Mekan Hat

Vibrant, multi-coloured Bamileke Mekan Hat from Grasslands Cameroon.
Tribe: Bamileke

Origin: Grasslands Cameroon

Approx Age: Late 20th Century

Materials: Cotton thread

Dimensions cm: 37 diameter

Ref. Number: 1138


Stunningly colourful Mekan hat from the Bamileke tribe. Made using a crochet technique incoropating both red, green, brown, blue and beige coloured cotton to create the basic hat. This hat has then had hundreds of 5cm lozenge/fingerling shapes added around what would be the brim. Showing a few signs of wear deterioration but this only adds to its charm.


The Bamileke are the native people of three regions of Cameroon, namely West, North-West and South-West. Though greater part of this people are from the West region, it is estimated that over the 1/3 of Bamileke are from the English speaking regions, the majority of which are from the North-West region (there are 123 Bamileke villages in this region, against 06 in the South-West).

Hats have a very special roll within Bamileke culture. They are worn by men during special ceremonies. It would be unthinkable to see a notable in an outfit without his hat to accompany it. Hats do vary in style and design but are usually made in wide variety of media such as vegetable fiber, cotton, and feathers.  Rather than a simple accessory, the hat could be an indication of the owner’s social rank and status. So important are the hats that many of the sculptural hats are sometimes represented on carved figures.

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