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Two Ivory Ear Plugs

Karen People, Eastern Burma
late 19th century

heights: 4.4cm



private collection, UK

These two ivory ear plugs (a near pair) 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 fine condition. One has small old chips to the edge of the base, no doubt the result of usage. The ivory has excellent 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.

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