Kirdi Aluminum Lip Plug Ornament Cameroon
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, 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 features, to show their tribal identity, and to protect them from dangers such as the evil exhalations and supernatural forces believed to enter through these orifices... initially the holes are made by the child's mother with a thorn; later they are enlarged with wisps 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.
Approximate Age: Unknown
Strand Length: --
Pendant Size: --
20-23 mm diameter, 18 mm thick. See picture with penny for size comparison.
Made In: Africa