My son’s unbirthday party was yesterday and we went with an Alice in Wonderland / silly hats theme because he’s been enjoying different kinds of hats, and it got me to wondering what kinds of hats the different cultures in my fantasy nations might favor.
- A Celtic burial site in Germany contained a conical hat made of birch bark. Wooden hats to go with the Dutch wooden shoes, I guess!
- The coolie straw hat is one of the oldest known hats in the world; depictions were found in a tomb at Thebes
- In order to spur the wool trade back in 1571, the British Parliament made a law that all non-noble males over six years old had to wear a wool cap on Sundays and holidays.
- The jiuliu mian nine-tasselled crown worn by dukes and the crown princes’s servants in Zhou – Han China bears a striking resemblance to a modern-day graduation cap with extra tassels.
- The four-winds hat (čiehgahpir) worn by the Sámi people of northern Scandinavia is designed so that small items can be stored in the corners.
Not everyone is willing to wear hats appropriate to their climate. Sir Leonard Woolley was an archaeologist famous for wearing a sports jacket and felt hat while excavating Mesopotamian dig sites. Which is to say he walked around wearing a wool hat in the middle of the Iraqi desert. He did, however, discover the first archaeological proof of human sacrifice in Mesopotamia. [Read More]
Although today they’re usually associated with witches, birthdays, and klansmen and seem kind of ridiculous, conical and pointed hats were pretty common throughout history, especially on the Central Eurasian Plains. “Phrygian” caps like the ones given to freed slaves in Rome and worn by Frenchmen to symbolize freedom after the revolution are still found today adorning the heads of fairytale dwarves.
Cowboy hats like those common in the American Southwest were inspired by the Mexican sombrero. Sombrero is a generic Spanish word for “hat” — the term in English usually refers to the sombrero de charro or, well, horsemen’s hat. Broad-brimmed hats worn by horseback riders date back at least as far as the 13th century Mongolians. [Read More]
The Wari people of the Andes mountain region predated the Inca and probably inspired a lot of things the Inca are known for, like complex road networks and quipu accounting systems. They were also incredible weavers; they were known to have worn small, square hats with lots of difficult-to-make dyes. The corners each have a small protrusion or tassel. [Read More]