Title: Hat

Date: 1470 – 1536
Culture: Inkaic Period
Material: camelid fibers, cotton, parrot feathers
Size: 5” H x 6.5” Diam.
Credit: Gift of Quintus H. and Mary H. Herron
On View: No

The Inka (Inca) Empire was among the greatest and most extensive empires the world has ever known. The Empire was so stratified that even an individual’s clothes denoted his or her occupation and status. This hat—although probably not made by the Inka people—would have been made and worn by people living within the Empire. 

The hat has several striking features including a plume of parrot feathers acquired through trade from east of the Andes. It is woven with llama wool or some other related camelid and is decorated with a stepped zigzag design that completely encircles the hat. The design could be a reference to the peaks of the Andes mountains, which the local inhabitants venerate and believe to be living entities. This magnificent hat would have been worn by a noble or similar-ranking individual.