Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hats Come In All Shapes And Sizes

I recently went to a one-room exhibition of tribal hats and headdresses from around the world at a small art gallery called Raven Row, on Artillery Lane, Spitalfields, East London, which was great for perusing, but a downside to the exhibits was a huge lack of background information about each of the pieces. However, every downside has an upside, and the lack of fact has caused me to come up with an exciting fictional idea about how my favourite of these hats came to be and what its tribal significance is.

The Ritual Of The Pecking Birds

The bird being a sacred creature to the tribe who made and wore this exquisite beaded hat, the pictured hat was the celebrated subject of the major annual festival, The Ritual Of the Pecking Birds, held every January to celebrate the coming of the new chief for the new year. In the afore-mentioned celebration, honourable members of the tribe, plus the former chief, would carefully assemble the headdress upon their new leader's head, before all the other members of the tribe would quickly unleash a flock of brown and white pigeon-like birds (the most sacred species in the aviary) wearing specially made cloaks. As soon as they landed on the hat, the six birds started to peck away all the 1000 beads stitched onto the hat (clearing the new leader of his 1000 sins), which would take them, on average, 30 days and 30 nights, a period accompanied by many raucous festivities among the tribe. However, 100 years after the forming of the tribe in 56 BC, some former chiefs began complaining of niggling headaches that had been caused by pecking birds on their heads, so instead gentler mechanical birds were used to peck off the beads, which explains the unusual appearance of this hat.

- DP :)
P.S. I'm off inter-railing around Europe now, so I'll won't be doing any posts until the 22nd April. But hopefully when I come back I'll do another holiday picture post like the one from Edinburgh!

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