Excerpt from the Thaw Catalog: Foremost in our stereotype of the North American Indian is the so-called 'war bonnet,' the headdress of eagle feathers. Before the 1830s this cap with its crown of flaring feathers was seldom seen and then only among certain tribes on the eastern Prairies. These people used feathers to honor a variety of war exploits. Eagle tailfeathers were used because the spirit of this bird was a major patron of the warriors. Only prominent warriors achieved the right to wear a full crown of such feathers, but even he could not make such a headdress for himself. The prospective owner invited a number of war veterens to a feast. They then assembled to make a headdress. As each feather was fastened to the hat, the owner had to tell the war exploit that entitled him to wear it. Attached to the top of the hat and standing in the center of the crown a stripped eagle plume symbolized the bonnet owner himself. (c.f. Maurer 1993, figs. 214 & 215; Walton, Ewers and Hassrick 1985, figs.43-51; Hail 1980, pp.116-123).
Physical dimensions: 
height 26 in ; width 20 in ; depth 17.5 in
height 39 in ; width 20 in ; depth 18 in