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BAMILEKE JUJU HATS


BAMILEKE
JUJU HATS

WHAT IS A JUJU HAT?

WHAT IS A JUJU HAT?


BAMILEKE
JUJU HATS

WHAT IS A JUJU HAT?

ORIGINS AND HISTORY

ORIGINS AND HISTORY

Juju hats, or Tyn hats as they are traditionally known, are ceremonial crowns of great cultural significance to the Bamileke people of Cameroon. These intricately created pieces are worn during meetings of the King and royal council.

Along with Tyn crowns, ornately decorated masks are worn at these ceremonial meetings. The leopard and the elephant masks - the most revered - are reserved for the King and the warrior class. Most commonly these masks and juju hats are worn together, but occasionally the hats are worn alone. In every instance, the juju hat brings with it a great sense of honor and royal dignity.

Juju hats are created by tying bundles of feathers to raffia sticks, and then sewing the raffia sticks together in a circular pattern to create the round shape. The outer layers of raffia are covered with dark fabric to protect the juju hat and create a clean, beautiful appearance.

The Bamileke people are a diverse ethic group that struggled through centuries of war and oppression during the colonization era in the 20th century. Their cultural traditions, many languages, intricate costumes and styles of dance are a source of great pride and serve as an important connection to the past. By adorning your home with one of our Juju Hats, our Bamileke artisans invite you to share in the honor and prestige of royalty.

Juju hats, or Tyn hats as they are traditionally known, are ceremonial crowns of great cultural significance to the Bamileke people of Cameroon. These intricately created pieces are worn during meetings of the King and royal council.

Along with Tyn crowns, ornately decorated masks are worn at these ceremonial meetings. The leopard and the elephant masks - the most revered - are reserved for the King and the warrior class. Most commonly these masks and juju hats are worn together, but occasionally the hats are worn alone. In every instance, the juju hat brings with it a great sense of honor and royal dignity.

Juju hats are created by tying bundles of feathers to raffia sticks, and then sewing the raffia sticks together in a circular pattern to create the round shape. The outer layers of raffia are covered with dark fabric to protect the juju hat and create a clean, beautiful appearance.

The Bamileke people are a diverse ethic group that struggled through centuries of war and oppression during the colonization era in the 20th century. Their cultural traditions, many languages, intricate costumes and styles of dance are a source of great pride and serve as an important connection to the past. By adorning your home with one of our Juju Hats, our Bamileke artisans invite you to share in the honor and prestige of royalty.

WHAT MAKES A ZEAL LIVING JUJU HAT DIFFERENT?

WHAT MAKES A ZEAL LIVING JUJU HAT DIFFERENT?

AUTHENTICITY

Our juju hats come directly from the source - the Bamileke artisans themselves. The Bamileke culture in Cameroon is the only African culture to have juju hats as part of their history - therefore only juju hats made in Cameroon are authentic. You can be confident that your Zeal Living juju hat is an original work of art made by a respected and well-paid Bamileke artisan in Cameroon.

QUALITY

Our juju hats are carefully handcrafted and of the finest quality. In addition to only working directly with artisan producers who take great pride in their work, we carefully check each one before shipping to ensure our quality standards are met.

SUSTAINABILITY

The feathers used to make our juju hats are natural chicken feathers - a byproduct of the meat industry. Our feathers come from small local farms who are committed to the well-being of the birds. Feathers are cleaned and sanitized locally before being sewn into juju hats.

CHARITY

In addition to the crucial role juju hats play in job creation for Bamileke artisans, a portion of proceeds from sales benefit the Agape Center, a daytime refuge center for 20+ underprivileged kids in Douala. Agape provides a safe space for children to relax, play, and study after school. Agape also offers counseling, basic medical care, funding for school fees and provides one hot meal a day.

AUTHENTICITY

Our juju hats come directly from the source - the Bamileke artisans themselves. The Bamileke culture in Cameroon is the only African culture to have juju hats as part of their history - therefore only juju hats made in Cameroon are authentic. You can be confident that your Zeal Living juju hat is an original work of art made by a respected and well-paid Bamileke artisan in Cameroon.

QUALITY

Our juju hats are carefully handcrafted and of the finest quality. In addition to only working directly with artisan producers who take great pride in their work, we carefully check each one before shipping to ensure our quality standards are met.

SUSTAINABILITY

The feathers used to make our juju hats are natural chicken feathers - a byproduct of the meat industry. Our feathers come from small local farms who are committed to the well-being of the birds. Feathers are cleaned and sanitized locally before being sewn into juju hats.

CHARITY

In addition to the crucial role juju hats play in job creation for Bamileke artisans, a portion of proceeds from sales benefit the Agape Center, a daytime refuge center for 20+ underprivileged kids in Douala. Agape provides a safe space for children to relax, play, and study after school. Agape also offers counseling, basic medical care, funding for school fees and provides one hot meal a day.

 

BROWSE THE COLLECTION

BROWSE THE COLLECTION

UNWRAPPING AND HANGING YOUR JUJU HAT

UNWRAPPING AND HANGING YOUR JUJU HAT

Juju hats are designed with the ability to fold inward into a drum shape, which protects the feathers. Your juju hat will arrive folded inward, wrapped tightly with string, and encased in protective wrapping.

When your juju hat arrives, untie the outer strings - but do not cut them! Once you do this, the juju hat will loosen, and you can gently open it outwards. At the back base of the juju, there is a tab you can use to press the center of the hat inwards. Gently press the tab all the way in until it pops into place. Some juju hats are woven more tightly than others - this pop may or may not be noticeable. You'll know your juju is fully open when the center of the hat is even, and the feathers don't lean one way or the other.

Once your juju hat is open, it will need to have its outer edges straightened out and made even. Gently use your fingers to reposition the feather bundles on the outer edges, and finger comb the interior feathers until they even and in place. For particularly troublesome areas, like the outer edges, you can use a blow dryer on cool to fluff them up.

Your juju hat has a string loop built in to the back support rim to make hanging easy.  

JUJU HAT CARE AND CLEANING

Juju hats are designed with the ability to fold inward into a drum shape, which protects the feathers. Your juju hat will arrive folded inward, wrapped tightly with string, and encased in protective wrapping.

When your juju hat arrives, untie the outer strings - but do not cut them! Once you do this, the juju hat will loosen, and you can gently open it outwards. At the back base of the juju, there is a tab you can use to press the center of the hat inwards. Gently press the tab all the way in until it pops into place. Some juju hats are woven more tightly than others - this pop may or may not be noticeable. You'll know your juju is fully open when the center of the hat is even, and the feathers don't lean one way or the other.

Once your juju hat is open, it will need to have its outer edges straightened out and made even. Gently use your fingers to reposition the feather bundles on the outer edges, and finger comb the interior feathers until they even and in place. For particularly troublesome areas, like the outer edges, you can use a blow dryer on cool to fluff them up.

Your juju hat has a string loop built in to the back support rim to make hanging easy.  

JUJU HAT CARE AND CLEANING

Because feathers are a natural material, moths can become attracted to them. To protect your juju, we recommend placing a small amount of cedar or lavender near the back. Additionally you can spray it periodically with a moth spray, available online or at your local hardware store.

Juju hats attract a surprisingly little amount of dust, especially on the feathers - but they will need a dusting from time to time. We recommend using a blow dryer on cool.

Because feathers are a natural material, moths can become attracted to them. To protect your juju, we recommend placing a small amount of cedar or lavender near the back. Additionally you can spray it periodically with a moth spray, available online or at your local hardware store.

Juju hats attract a surprisingly little amount of dust, especially on the feathers - but they will need a dusting from time to time. We recommend using a blow dryer on cool.