Costume, early 20th century


This dramatically blue-and-white patterned costume from Cameroon, which is larger than life, was meant to draw attention. Worn by a dancer in one of the many ceremonial masquerades, it would cover the man’s entire body. The round “head” sown onto the neckline would be worn on top of the head of the performer, who was able to peek through a slit in the front. The costume is furthermore adorned with valuable cowrie shells around the top and along the bottom, and has fringes of red wool, made from prestigious material imported from abroad—all adding to the garment’s luster.

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