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Dance hat

This dance hat is made of red plaited cane, decorated with two metal discs. The rim of the helmet is trimmed with four red strips of bright red cane. This hat was collected by William Ninnis Porter and can be dated to the late 1800s, though the exact provenance is unknown. Documentary evidence indicates that it was certainly of the type worn in the animistic ritual of the Manau festival, which is the most strongly associated ritual amongst the Jinghpaw communities of the Kachin State. Photographic evidence taken by J.H. Green and documented in ‘Burma Frontier Photographs’ show examples of the ritualistic dance hat being worn by the ‘Nung Naushawng’ (dance leaders) – photos 1246, and 1018, (Dell 2000: 110/113). As noted by Green in 1934, ‘The Dumas and elders on ceremonial occasions wear red plaited cane helmets which are almost identical with some Naga helmets’. It is here that one observes the cross-cultural influences between the Naga of Nagaland, India, and the Northern and bordering tribes of Burma.

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Belt

This cream coloured belt is made of a woven strip of textile and decorated with wool thread. There are pink and blue cords to fasten the belt, which end in a bundle of coloured wool thread danglers. As the donor information is lacking for this jacket, details of its exact provenance are unknown, however the belt forms part of a Lisu women’s outfit worn for special occasions or weddings with the other following components: headcloth 106/2000/5, apron 106/2000/2, shin sleeves 106/2000/4/1 and tunic 106/2000/7. The combination of the jacket, leggings, head cloth, double apron and belt make this Lisu outfit an important asset to the Burmese textile collection. Although a modern example of the same outfit was commissioned by Brighton Museum, RAMM has a unique original example of what the Lisu women would have worn, which for research purposes can be utilised in comparison with the modern outfits that the Lisu wear today.

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Cloth

This screen printed cotton head scarf was made by the Cotonificio Barattolo in Asmara, Eritrea, to commemorate the 1965 visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Ethiopia, and her meeting with Emperor Haile Selassie I.

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