Monday, August 30, 2010

Michael Galban Headress

The headdress is typical of known 18th c Great Lakes style buffalo horned headdresses. It is based on the existing examples but not a "bench" copy of any single headdress. Quilled headdresses like these are probably purely ceremonial and possibly represent the underwater panther which appears so often in Great Lakes cosmology and design.

The naturally dyed quillwork is done on buffalo rawhide strips with barktanned leather behind and rubbed with verdigris pigment. The truncated triangle crown is often present in this style headdress as well as in quillwork embroidery from the area. The triangles create awesome negative space for the brightly dyed deer hair corona to contrast with.

The shroud is in braintanned deerskin which I dyed with layers of black walnut, yellow and red ochre to give it the appearance of age and use. Then I used more verdigris spotting to mirror the pallette on the face. Verdigris is a unique pigment that is most often seen as the "greenish" cast on old brass and copper objects. This oxidized copper is scraped from the surface and then ground into raw pigment.

This style of headdress differs from many 18th c diadems because of the shroud which changes the wearers identity by totally enclosing the head. It is probably more in line with the mask traditions of the east without the complete masking of the face. The wearer is in between transformative states and retains human characteristics but also displays the horns and ridges of the underwater panther.

Copy by Michael Galban. Photographed at the 2010 CLA Show by Jan Riser.