Africa Direct
Africa Direct

Kirdi Aluminum Lip Plug Ornament Cameroon African

AvailabilityIn stock
Special Price $42.00 Regular Price $69.00
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Title Kirdi Aluminum Lip Plug Ornament Cameroon African
Other Names Rosetta or star beads
Materials Aluminum
Made In Venice
Traded In Africa
Approximate Age Unknown
Overall Condition Fair. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair Scratches, pitting, dents and tarnishing
People Kirdi
Object Size 2 inches long, .5 inch wide
Brand Unbranded

Additional Information: An interesting aluminum lip plug in  cylindrical shape with circular top. Lips plugs are commonly found in sub-Saharan  Africa. They are made in various material (wood, ivory, bones, horn, shells, plastic, metal etc...) and come in different forms and sizes.  Among the Kirdi plugs like this were worn by women. 

Traditionally, the rite of passage from childhood to adulthood in many African cultures was sanctioned by several events, including initiation, and body transformation. Circumcision and the perforation of the child’s earlobes  and lips were among the evidences of body transformation and change of status from childhood to adulthood.

Once the lips were pierced and after the wound had healed , plugs such as this  were inserted into the holes.  They become fashionable body ornament and are still on use in some areas in Africa.

See Angela Fisher comments and pictures of Kirdi  and lobi women wearing such lip plugs:

Angela Fisher wrote: "The lips, noses and ears of Kirdi and Lobi girls are pierced during childhood so that they can later wear ornaments to enhance their feattures, to show their tribal identity, and to protect them from dangers such as the evil exhalations and supernatural forcs believed to enter through these orifices... initially the holes are made by the child's mother with a thorn; later they are enlarged with whisps of corn or millet stalk until they are up to 2 cm in diameter,large enough to insert a plug of clay, wood, stone or metal."

Angela Fisher, Africa Adorned, 1984, p. 136 for pictures and  p. 137 for the text.