Kirdi Aluminum Lip Plug Ornament Cameroon
Lip plugs, a prevalent adornment across sub-Saharan Africa, come in various materials and styles, including a cylindrical aluminum design with a circular top. Among the Kirdi people, similar plugs were worn by women as a fashionable body ornament. These plugs signify a traditional rite of passage from childhood to adulthood, where body modifications like lip piercing were markers of this transition. After healing, these plugs were inserted into the pierced lips, serving both ornamental and cultural purposes. Angela Fisher, in her observations of Kirdi and Lobi women, notes that such ornaments enhanced features, displayed tribal identity, and were believed to offer protection against supernatural forces and evil influences entering through pierced orifices. The process of piercing, initially done by the mother with a thorn, eventually enlarges with stalks, allowing for plugs made from materials like clay, wood, stone, or metal to be inserted, preserving this age-old tradition.
Approximate Age: Unknown
11-16 mm diameter, 1.75 inches long
Made In: Africa