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Object Record

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Artist Yang, Sho
Nationality or Tribal Affiliation Hmong
Title Girl's Chicken Hat
Type of Object Hat
Date ca. 1980
Medium Cotton, thread
Dimensions H-15.2 W-14.5 D-18.7 Dia-48 cm
Dimension Details Height includes ear flaps
Collection Missoula County Art Collection managed by the Missoula Art Museum
How acquired Gift, Mai Lee, 1980
Object ID 1980.01.H16
Statement about this object This girl's chicken hat, worn with the protuberance in the front, includes panels with rickrack, diamond, and seed patterns in reverse applique around the bottom edge of the hat as well as one the triangular ear flaps. All panels are bordered by an embroidered fence pattern. Traditionally, the seed pattern symbolizes abundance, the diamond pattern symbolizes earth/four seasons and the fence pattern symbolizes security.

Chickens are significant in Hmong culture. "It is the rooster who leads the deceased to the land of the ancestors…one of the three principal souls that dwells in each person is the plig quab, or 'chicken soul.' It is this soul which is reincarnated, and also the soul most likely to leave the body, causing illness or death. To retrieve it, the sacrifice of a chicken is necessary." Newborns sometimes receive their protective chicken hats and sacrifices are made when they are three days old. These rituals "enlist the help of the ancestors in protecting the child from evil spirits." -- Lindbergh, Susan Miller, "Traditional Costumes of the Lao Hmong Refugees in Montana" (1988). Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers. Paper 9371.
Classification Textiles
Subjects Patterns (Design elements)