Arts of Africa
On View: African Storage Annex, East Gallery, 1st Floor
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.
late 19th or early 20th century
Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund
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Mangbetu. Hairpin, late 19th or early 20th century. Ivory, 7 1/16 x 3/8 in. (18 x 1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1922, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund, 22.1605. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 22.1605_PS6.jpg)
overall, 22.1605_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2011
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One end of the hairpin has a flat open ring; the other comes to a point. Through the central area of the shaft are two lengthwise openings. From under the ring of the hairpin to a short distance below the lengthwise openings in the shaft, are nine incised crosshatched bands filled with pigment for decoration.
Condition: Good; end of ring has chips.
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