This long pyramid-shaped hairpin from the Hmong people of northern Laos is made of a single piece of black wood, possibly ebony, which is overlaid with hammered sheet silver. The end of the silverwork is finished with borders of fine silver filigree. The top surface of the end comprises a square with a raised petal silver design against a black enamel ground.
Sometimes, the ends of such hairpins open to reveal a small compartment for storing small quantities of tobacco but the end of this example does not appear to open.
Most published examples of such hairpins are composed entirely of silver. The example here is perhaps more elegant – the black wood and the white silver provide a pleasing contrast with on another.
Such hairpins were worn on special occasions.
The hairpin is in excellent condition.
Borel, F.,The Splendour of Ethnic Jewelry: From the Colette and Jean-Pierre Ghysels Collection, Thames & Hudson, 1994.
Richter, A.,The Jewelry of Southeast Asia, Thames & Hudson, 2000.