University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Object Number: 18023N
Current Location: Collections storage
Provenience: Marquesas Islands
Section:Oceanian
Materials:Bone
Length: 1.8cm
Width: 1.8cm
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, and the figures represent ancestors. These ornaments were highly valued and were inherited in the female line.


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