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Two Amber Pointed Cylinder Ear Plugs

Kachin People, Burma
19th-early 20th century

heights: 6.7cm & 7cm, combined weight: 24.05g



UK art market

Pointed ear cylinders or plugs such as these were worn in the ear lobes through large holes. Made of solid Burmese amber or burmite, they are thick but not heavy.

This style was mostly worn by Kachin women in Western Burma, but also by Mizo women in Eastern India.

Similar examples are illustrated in Hoek et al (2004, p. 166) and Richter (2000, p. 78).

The amber, known as burmite, is a type of fossilised amber that originates in Burma’s Kachin State, and which was known to the Chinese as early as the Han period (206 BC-220 AD).

The two here have plenty of wear. They are not identical but are associated and most probably were worn as a pair. They have minor abrasions, inclusions and so on associated with age and use.


Hoek, C., et al, Ethnic Jewellery: From Africa, Asia and Pacific Islands, Pepin Press, 2004.

Richter, A., The Jewelry of Southeast Asia, Thames & Hudson, 2000.

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