Inventory no.: 1418

Tibetan Ivory Hair Ring


Man’s Ivory Hair Ring (Pa-so-tre-kho)


18th-19th century

maximum outer diameter: 6.2cm, thickness: 2cm, weight: 93g

Rings of thick ivory such as this example were used by Tibetan men to hold their hair in place. See van der Starr (2002, p. 173) for examples of such ivory hair rings.

This example is notable for two reasons: its superb wear and patina, and the old repairs that have been made to it.

The ring is wonderfully tactile; its sides and edges have been softened from decades of use. The ivory has developed a rich, honeyed colour and its grain has become particularly apparent.

Presumably, the owner thought much of the piece and when it split in two, pairs of copper situres were applied across the break to hold the ring together. Not only have these developed wear and patina of their own but they add to the decorative appeal of the ring.


van der Starr, R., (ed.),

Ethnic Jewellery: From Africa, Asia and Pacific Islands, The Pepin Press, 2002.

Inventory no.: 1418


The Tibetan man in this image wears an ivory ring in his hair between two ‘saddle’ rings.