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Silver conical headgear
Oran, Algeria
Early 20th century
Silver, hammered, cut, pierced, and punched
H: 13.5; Diam: 14.5 cm
The Zeyde Schulmann Collection in the Israel Museum
Accession number: B63.11.2807

Conical head coverings were worn by both Muslim and Jewish women in the towns of northern Tunisia and Algeria from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century. The most obvious difference between the headgear in the two countries was the shape of the cone: in Algeria the cone was rounded and symmetrical, while in Tunisia it was triangular and folded asymmetrically.

In Algeria, the woman’s conical headdress, seen in Tlemçen, Oran, and Constantine, was usually called a shashiya. In addition to the usual velvet-covered, metal-thread embroidered leather or cardboard versions were the rarer silver hats fashioned by silversmiths and decorated with plant and amulet motifs in the Tunisian style. These hats were worn over a velvet cap in order to set off the patterns and held in place with a kerchief or a narrow, gold-embroidered strap tied under the chin. Such hats came in many sizes and were inclined at a variety of angles. In Constantine, where the hat was sometimes very small, young women tipped the point to one side, while conservative older woman wore it upright. Meanwhile, in Tlemçen, respectable women always wore their conical hats vertically; raking the cone at an angle was seen as reminiscent of dress associated with women of loose virtue.

From the Israel Museum publications:
Juhasz, Esther (ed.), The Jewish Wardrobe from the Collection of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 5 Continents Editions, Milan and The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2012

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