Browse By Migrations Geography Timeline Source Materials Education Materials Search
The Black Republic and Louisiana
< From Saint Domingue to LouisianaThe Black Republic and LouisianaSoldiers, Rebels, and Pirates >
First ImagePrevious ImageImage GalleryNext ImageLast Image
view larger imageview larger image request a copy request a copy

Louisiana State Museum [07102]

L.R. Reeds. Portrait of an African American Woman Wearing a Tignon, 1885

Tignon

After the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, New Orleans authorities continued Spanish laws restricting the mode of dress of women of color. A municipal ordinance required all women of African descent to bind their hair in a kerchief. The tignon law helped reinforce the restrictive Anglo-American racial order. The mandatory tignon quickly became an opportunity for a new fashion as women of color defied the ordinance. Beautifully patterned fabrics were folded into elaborate shapes to express the wearer's individuality. The cowry shell, widely used as currency in Africa in colonial times, was often depicted in the complex folds of the tignon.

Show indexing information
First ImagePrevious ImageImage GalleryNext ImageLast Image
Home About Glossary The New York Public Library
Privacy Policy | Rules & Regulations | Using the Internet | Website Terms & Conditions

© The New York Public Library, 2005.