94. A Mongolian Golden Eagle Leather Hunting Bonnet

Altai region, early 19th century
Size: 9 cm high, 10 cm wide

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The great interest of this hood is the jade animal amulet, either a bear or a monkey, beneath the plume. It is clearly ancient, and a rare illustration of the purpose of such amulets, called upon over millennia to promote the success of the hunt. This is usually dubbed and dismissed as ‘sympathetic magic’, and yet it has been used and relied on for such a major part of our existence as a species that it may be that it is we, in these more modern times, who are missing something. I am not suggesting that buying a Dinky-toy red bus will make more than three come along at once, but rather that there may be advantages to being more sensitive to our possibilities.

Provenance: Private collection, New York
Finch & Co., London