This elegant pair of long ivory ear plugs would have been worn by both men and women of the Karen ethnic group of Eastern Burma and northern Thailand. The plugs were inserted into large holes in the ear lobes.
Each is carved from a single piece of ivory.
Similar examples are illustrated in Hoek (2004, p. 210) and Lewis & Lewis (1984, p. 34-35).
The pair here is in excellent condition and without chips or repairs. The ivory has a wonderful honeyed patina from age and handling.
Hoek, C., et al, Ethnic Jewellery: From Africa, Asia and Pacific Islands, Pepin Press, 2004.
Lewis, P. & E., Peoples of the Golden Triangle: Six Tribes in Thailand, Thames & Hudson, 1984.