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A Zaramo or Kwere Mwana Hiti Hairpin

with mask-like head

Tribe Dynasty

Zaramo or Kwere

Country Of Origin

Tanzania

Region

Central and northern coastal region

Date

Early 20th century

Size

26.5 cms (10½ ins)

Materials

Wood

Technique

Carved

Condition

Smooth, dark patina

The exquisitely carved mask-like head on this hairpin is mwana hiti, a figure that represents male and female fertility, ancestors and the continuity of life. The head sits atop an openwork geometric form that is delicately carved front and back with a diamond and zig-zag pattern.

Hairpins such as this one were given as gifts to women by their husbands when moving into a new house, having a child or other of life’s rites of passage. Thereafter they would be treasured and worn on ceremonial occasions.

Price

Price on request

Reference No

2541

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