Overall Condition: Fair. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.and damage.
Damage/Repair: Dents, tarnishing, pitting
This aluminum lip plug, with its distinctive cylindrical shape and circular top, is a fascinating example of a traditional body ornament commonly found in sub-Saharan Africa. Lips plugs, crafted from various materials such as wood, bones, horn, shells, plastic, and metal, were integral to cultural practices among different African communities. Among the Kirdi people, women wore lip plugs as part of a rite of passage marking the transition from childhood to adulthood. The piercing of lips, along with other body modifications like circumcision and earlobe perforation, signified this transformative process. After the healing of the pierced lips, plugs like this aluminum one were inserted, serving not only as fashionable body ornaments but also as markers of tribal identity. The use of such lip plugs persists in some African regions, demonstrating the enduring cultural significance of these adornments. Angela Fisher's observations on Kirdi and Lobi women further highlight the cultural context, emphasizing the practice's role in enhancing features, expressing tribal identity, and providing protection against perceived supernatural forces.