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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Michael Wright, Mrs Salesbury with her Grandchildren Edward and Elizabeth Bagot, c. 1676, Tate Britain.
John Michael Wright, Mrs Salesbury with her Grandchildren Edward and Elizabeth Bagot, c. 1676, Tate Britain.

Pointed hats have been a distinctive item of headgear of a wide range of cultures throughout history. Though often suggesting an ancient Indo-European tradition, they were also traditionally worn by women of Lapland, the Japanese, the Mi'kmaq people of Atlantic Canada, and the Huastecs of Veracruz and Aztec (illustrated e.g. in Codex Mendoza). The Kabiri of New Guinea have the diba, a pointed hat glued together.[1]


Existence of the conical hat is known as early as the Bronze Age in Middle East and Eurasia, and Central Europe. Conical hats were recorded in ancient Egypt, especially when depicting Osiris and pharaohs who emulated Osiris' iconography. Conical hats were also recorded by many Indo-European civilizations. Golden hats have been recorded in burial cites in Central Europe. The Scythians of the Eurasian steppes were noted for have pointed hats which was often referenced by other civilizations such as in the DNa inscription in the tomb of Darius the Great. In Ancient Greece, the pilos was a common hat worn by travelers and infantrymen by the 5th century. Popular among Burgundian noblewomen in the 15th century was a type of conical headgear now called a hennin.[2] Conical hats were also popular in late medieval Vijayanagar, India.

Bronze Age

The conical golden hats of Bronze Age Central Europe were probably a ceremonial accessory worn by the priesthood. The "Golden Man" of Issyk kurgan was Scythian in the 4th century who was buried wearing golden armor including a conical scythian hat.

Iron Age

Textile analysis of the Tarim Mummies has shown some similarities to the Iron Age civilizations of Europe dating from 800 BC, including woven twill and tartan patterns strikingly similar to tartans from Northern Europe. One unusual find was a distinctively pointed hat:

Yet another female – her skeleton found beside the remains of a man – still wore a terrifically tall, conical hat just like those we depict on witches riding broomsticks at Halloween or on medieval wizards intent at their magical spells.[3]: 200 

Pointed hats were also worn in ancient times by Saka (Scythians), and are shown on Hindu temples (as helmets and metal crowns) and in Hittite reliefs. As described by Herodotus, the name of the Scythian tribe of the tigrakhauda (Orthocorybantians) is a bahuvrihi compound literally translating to "people with pointed hats".[4][5]

Besides the Scythians, the Cabeiri as well as Odysseus are traditionally pictured wearing a Pilos, or woolen conical hat.[6]

Middle Ages

A kazaori eboshi from the Japanese Heian period
A kazaori eboshi from the Japanese Heian period

The 13th-century Cumans commonly wore scythian style pointed hats,[7] and are reported to have fought wearing them.[8]

Originating from the Japanese Heian period, the kazaori eboshi (風折烏帽子) was worn by aristocrats to indicate rank. Still worn today for ceremonial purposes, this black[9] linen hat was used during a samurai's ceremony in attaining manhood.[10]

The Jewish poet Süßkind von Trimberg wearing a Jewish hat (Codex Manesse, 14th century)
The Jewish poet Süßkind von Trimberg wearing a Jewish hat (Codex Manesse, 14th century)

The Papal tiara in the Middle Ages is sometimes shown as more pointed than in more recent centuries, though also shown with no point. Mitra papalis is a type of conch named after the papal mitre for its form.

Medieval Jewish men wore distinctive headgear as required by European Christian authorities. This included the pointed Jewish hat (or "Judenhut") already worn by Jews, a piece of clothing probably imported from the Islamic world and perhaps before that from Persia.[11]

Popular among Burgundian noblewomen in the 15th century was a type of conical headgear now called a hennin.[2]

From the 13th to the 15th Century, the liripipe hood was commonplace, where the rear of the hood was considerably extended (to a meter or more) in a conical form, which was variously worn as a scarf, or allowed to hang behind, in the form now commonly found now in academic robes.

Modern times

Pointed hats at 2017 Courir de Mardi Gras in rural Louisiana
Pointed hats at 2017 Courir de Mardi Gras in rural Louisiana

The Spitzhut is a traditional kind of headgear in Bavaria.

Pointed hoods were used by various orders and Catholic lay confraternities for processions, e.g. the Semana Santa of Sevilla who wore the Capirote.

Pointed hats are still worn in the rural Louisiana Mardi Gras celebrations by the Cajuns, the Courir de Mardi Gras, where they are known as capuchons.[12]

The Ku Klux Klan has worn this headgear since its first era.[13]

Tall conical hats are common to traditional folk ceremonies in many parts of Europe, particularly at Carnival time. Examples can still be seen in Italy, Spain and Bulgaria.[14]

The May Day hobby horses of Padstow and Minehead in southwest England have pointed hats with masks attached.[15][16][17]

Folklore and fiction

Classical pointed hats are worn by the dwarfs, witches and wizards of European Folklore.[citation needed]


Type Image Notes
Bashlyk This traditional Turkic and Cossack cone-shaped headdress hood is usually made of leather, felt or wool. It is an ancient round topped felt bonnet with lappets for wrapping around the neck.
Not what you may think - these are nazarenos (hooded penitents) in the Holy Week parade in Granada (IMG 5519a).jpg
Historically, the capirote was a cardboard cone worn in Spain.
Courir run 2010 01.jpg
A capuchon is a ceremonial hat worn during the Mardi Gras celebration in the Cajun areas of southwestern Louisiana, known as the Courir de Mardi Gras.
Asian conical hat
Known as a sedge hat, rice hat, paddy hat or coolie hat, this simple style of hat is often made of straw. It originated in East, South and Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam, China, Japan, Korea, Cambodia, Philippines, India, Bangladesh and Indonesia.
Dunce cap
Dunce cap from LOC 3c04163u.png
In popular culture, the dunce cap is typically made of paper and often marked with a D or the word "dunce", and given to schoolchildren to wear as punishment by public humiliation for misbehaviour and, as the name implies, stupidity.
Fulani hat
Chapeau peul-Musée africain de Lyon.jpg
A conical plant fiber hat covered in leather both at the brim and top, worn by men of the Fulani people in West Africa.
Golden hat
Speyer (DerHexer) 2010-12-19 054.jpg
This type of hat is a very specific and rare type of archaeological artifact from Bronze Age Europe.
Hans Holbein Temple Detail.jpg
Most commonly worn in Burgundy and France by women of the nobility, the hennin appears from about 1430 onwards. Later, though, this hat spread more widely, especially in the truncated form. Typically, the hennin was 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm) high, generally accompanied by a veil that usually emerged from the top of the cone and was allowed to fall onto the woman's shoulders.
Korean headgear-Hogeon-01A.jpg
This Korean traditional headgear for young boys aged one year to five years has flaps, and is a type of gwanmo (관모),.
Jewish hat
Codex Manesse Süßkind von Trimberg.jpg
The Jewish hat was often white or yellow, worn by Jews in Medieval Europe and some of the Islamic world.
Wassilij Wassiljewitsch Wereschtschagin 001.jpg
This high-crowned cap is usually made of felt or sheepskin. It is worn by men from southeastern Europe, Iran, Central Asia and the Caucasus.
A Kasa is any of several kinds of traditional hats of Japan.
YEMEN - Shibam.jpg
Traditional straw hat from Yemen.
A straw hat used traditionally by the Sotho people. It serves as the national symbol of Lesotho.
Marley's Ghost-John Leech 1843-detail.jpg
This garment is worn while sleeping, often with a nightgown, for warmth.
Party hat
A party hat is generally a playful conical hat made with a rolled up piece of thin cardboard, usually with designs printed on the outside and a long string of elastic going from one side of the cone's bottom to another to secure the cone to one's head.
Phrygian cap
Bust Attis CdM.jpg
The Phrygian cap is a soft cap with the top pulled forward. Associated in antiquity with the inhabitants of Phrygia, a region of central Anatolia; from the French Revolution a symbol of revolution, liberty and republicanism – and in modern times with Smurfs.
Dioscuro cordonata2.jpg
The pileus was, in Ancient Greece and Rome, a brimless, felt cap, somewhat similar to a fez.
Silver enlaid salakot.jpg
Usually made from rattan or reeds, this is a traditional hat from the Philippines.
Sugar loaf
SAND Maurice Masques et bouffons 12.jpg
This very tall, tapering hat was first worn in medieval times. Its name comes from the loaves into which sugar was formed at that time.[18] The sugar loaf hat is a kind of early top hat ending in a slightly rounded conical top.[19]
Similar to the hennin, this woman's headdress was popular in the Eastern Mediterranean during the 19th century.[20][21] The most ornate tantours were made of gold and reached as high as 30 inches. Some were encrusted with gems and pearls. The tantour was held in by a ribbons tied around the head. A silk scarf was wound around the base with a white veil attached to the peak.[22]
A topor is worn during Bengali Hindu wedding ceremonies. It is usually white, fragile, and made of sholapith.

See also


  1. ^ "Angeleimter Spitzhut oder "diba" Kabiri (Neuguinea)". (in German). Archived from the original on 2004-10-31. Retrieved 2005-08-09.
  2. ^ a b "hat – FactMonster".
  3. ^ Elizabeth Wayland Barber (2000). The Mummies of Ürümchi. W. W. Norton, Incorporated. ISBN 978-0-393-32019-0.
  4. ^ Lendering, Jona (2013). "History of Iran: Scythians / Sacae". Iran Chamber Society. Retrieved 12 December 2013. The Sakâ tigrakhaudâ ('Sacae with pointed hats') were defeated in 520/519 BCE by the Persian king Darius I, who gave this tribe a new leader. One of the earlier leaders was killed, the other, named Skunkha, was taken captive and is visible on the relief at Behistun. (It is possible that Darius created a new tribe from several earlier tribes.) Herodotus calls the Sakâ tigrakhaudâ the Orthocorybantians ('pointed hat men'), and informs us that they lived in the same tax district as the Medes. This suggests that the Sakâ tigrakhaudâ lived on the banks of the ancient lower reaches of the Amudar'ya, which used to have a mouth in the Caspian Sea south of Krasnovodsk. The pointed hat is a kind of turban.
  5. ^ Askolʹd Igorevich Ivanchik; Vaxtang Ličʻeli (2007). Achaemenid Culture and Local Traditions in Anatolia, Southern Caucasus and Iran: New Discoveries. BRILL. pp. 19–. ISBN 978-90-04-16328-7.
  6. ^ Walter Burkert (1 January 1983). Burkert. University of California Press. pp. 133–. ISBN 978-0-520-03650-5.
  7. ^ Linehan, Peter; Nelson, Janet Laughland, eds. (2003). The medieval world. Routledge Worlds Series. 10. Routledge. pp. 82–83. ISBN 978-0-415-30234-0.
  8. ^ Karasulas, Antoly (2004). Mounted archers of the Steppe 600 BC-AD 1300. Illustrated by Angus McBride. Osprey Publishing. p. 63. ISBN 9781841768090. [The warrior's] conical fur-edged felt hat is a typical item of Cuman clothing
  9. ^ "Japan Regional Information". Retrieved 2010-08-16.
  10. ^ "冠と烏帽子". Retrieved 2010-08-16.
  11. ^ "Jewish hat article". Archived from the original on 2008-02-25.
  12. ^ "Mardi Gras in Rural Acadiana". Archived from the original on 2010-01-20. Retrieved 2010-02-18.
  13. ^ Kinney, Alison (January 8, 2016). "How the Klan Got Its Hood". The New Republic.
  14. ^ Carnival King of Europe: High Conical Hats
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 September 2007. Retrieved 4 January 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  16. ^ Cawte, E. C. (1978). Ritual Animal Disguise: A Historical and Geographical Study of Animal Disguise in the British Isles. Cambridge and Totowa: D.S. Brewer Ltd. and Rowman and Littlefield for the Folklore Society. ISBN 978-0-85991-028-6.
  17. ^ Hole, Christina (1995) [1976]. A Dictionary of British Folk Customs. Oxford: Helicon. ISBN 978-1859861295.
  18. ^ "Types of hats Alphabetic List N – Z". Retrieved 2010-08-16.
  19. ^ Sewell, Charlotte (1983). Clothes in History. Wayland Ltd. Pp. 20, 21
  20. ^ "19th Century Lebanese Princess".
  21. ^ "The Tantour or Shihabbiyeen". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
  22. ^ "Origin of Levantine Costumes". Retrieved 2010-08-16.

Further reading

  • Barber, A.W. (1999). The Mummies of Ürümchi. Macmillan, London.

External links

This page was last edited on 23 October 2021, at 10:54
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