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Hairpin

Arts of Africa

Ivory’s value results from its scarcity, as well as its association with the elephant, a symbol of power and strength. Ivory bracelets, decorated with engraved designs, were made by the Fur of the Darfur region of Sudan and traded as far as Eritrea and the Republic of the Congo. Hairpins from the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo are worn by both men and women to hold hats and ornate hairstyles in place. These hairpins are particularly ostentatious, since each is made from a large piece of ivory, most of which is carved away.
CULTURES Mangbetu or Zande
MEDIUM Ivory, pigment
DATES late 19th or early 20th century
DIMENSIONS 7 3/4 in. (19.7 cm)
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 22.912
CREDIT LINE Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Hair ornament with one end flat and slightly-flared, and the other pointed. Engraved at top are eleven bands of crosshatching and diagonal lines, all filled in with dark pigment. Surface wear, but condition good.
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