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Ear Ornament Plug

Object Number:18023O
Current Location: Collections Storage
Provenience: Marquesas Islands
Section:Oceanian
Materials:Bone
Length: 1.8 cm
Width: 1.7 cm
Credit Line:Gift of William Pepper, 1891

Description

Plug or cap for ear ornament. Ornament, of carved bone, was formerly used by chiefs' wives and daughters. The ornament is made in two pieces: the cap, usually made of shell, which has a cavity which is lined with soft wood. Into this fits a shank which extends from one end of the ornament proper. The usual material for the latter is said to have been bone from the skeleton of a relative of the original wearer, the figures representing ancestors. These ornaments were highly valued and were inherited in the female line.

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