ZULU BRIDES HATS FROM THE M'SINGHA DISTRICT

South Africa

Hair and ocher pigments, 45 till 55 cm diameter

These hats are called ‘Isicholo’, a wide twined hat filled with natural hair with a diameter between approximately 40 and 55 cm.

At puberty come, the young girls were called ‘Itshishi’. They let their hair grow, cut it of, conserved it and worked the strings of hair around a concave frame of braided twines. In this way they consequently built up a hat from their own hair. Just before the wedding ceremony the completed hat was greased with fat and red ochre by the leder women of the community and was handed by them to the groom. During the festivity he handed over to his new bride the hat, made of her own hair. The hat was kept at home and worn only at special occasions and ceremonies.

The production and the use of these hats were restricted to women of a privileged and higher class only.

Around the 1950’s the tradition of making and wearing the Isicholo hats ebbed away and nowadays only the older women wear their hat during special ceremonies.

Price on request.