Awl or Hair Ornament
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, copper
- Place Made: Ubangi or Uelele region, Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Dates: late 19th or early 20th century
- Dimensions: 9 1/16in. (23cm) (show scale)
- Collections:Arts of Africa
- Museum Location: This item is on view in South Gallery, 1st Floor
- Accession Number: 56.6.53
- Credit Line: Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos
- Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
- Caption: Mangbetu. Awl or Hair Ornament, late 19th or early 20th century. Ivory, copper, 9 1/16in. (23cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos, 56.6.53. Creative Commons-BY
- Catalogue Description: Ivory awl or hair ornament. Hair pin, ivory, copper end incised with two lizard-like motifs, cross-hatching and rings, rim slightly bent.
- Record Completeness: Best (83%)