Ram's Horn Headdress

Wealthy Europeans in the Middle Ages (c. 500–c. 1500) loved headwear. They wore coverings on their head almost all the time, and over time they developed styles of headwear that were large and sculpted. Along with the steeple headdress, the ram's horn headdress, also known as the horned hennin, was one of the more extravagant headdresses from late in the Middle Ages.

The ram's horn headdress got its name from the two sculpted "horns" that stuck out from either side of the temple. These horns, or curved cones, were constructed of wire mesh that was secured to a snug-fitting skullcap. The horns were covered with fabric and most often had thin, gauzy veils that either hung from the ends or were draped between the horns. The tips of the horns might also be adorned with small flags or other ornaments. The horns themselves could reach up to three feet in length, though they were usually shorter. They must have been very difficult to wear and the largest of them were probably only worn for ceremonial occasions. The ram's horn headdress and other horn- and cone-shaped headdresses were often called hennin. First seen in the late 1300s, they soon went out of fashion.


Bigelow, Marybelle S. Fashion in History: Apparel in the Western World. Minneapolis, MN: Burgess Publishing, 1970.

Cosgrave, Bronwyn. The Complete History of Costume and Fashion: From Ancient Egypt to the Present Day. New York: Checkmark Books, 2000.

[ See also Volume 2, Europe in the Middle Ages: Steeple Headdress ]

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