Laos Hill Tribe single shafted hair pins with elaborate repousee decoration
CONDITION: good vintage condition with accepted wear
APPROXIMATE DATE: early 20th century
MATERIALS: silver, brass
Here are two antique ethnic hair pins They originate from the Hill Tribes or Laos, Thailand. Provenance: Private South Carolina Collection.
#1 brass hair pin measures 5 ins h x 2 ins w (13 x 5 cm)
#2 silver hair pin measures 4½ ins h x 3 ins w (11 x 7.5 cm)
The brass hair ornament is organized as a series of cones and is hollow at the back. The silver hair pin gives the effect of an umbrella and also has repousee work on the heading. The design of disks and roundels is typical of this kind of work. Both ornaments are secured in the hair by a single broad shaft
The “Golden Triangle” is the area where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar (Burma) meet at the confluence of the Ruak and Mekong rivers. Ethnic tribal peoples are scattered across this territory. For all these groups costume and jewellery have always been especially significant and an outward expression of beauty, wealth and prestige.
Combs and hairpins are made from a wide range of materials and are frequently associated with ritual and ceremony. They are proficient metal workers in silver, the preferred material, because the tribal peoples believe that silver has the ability to interact with the spirit world. Therefore they traditionally wear large silver jewelry to get the attention of ancestral spirits, especially during ceremonies. Lavish displays of head ornaments take the form of flat disks, cones and balls. Thus a variety of hair pins complement the lavish displays of jewellery and costume among women and young girls. Women generally wore their hair in a bun or knot secured by a series of long handled hair pins. It is common to see hill tribe women with large unusual hair pins featuring traditional cultural motifs.
The final picture shows some of these elaborate head pieces worn by Hill Tribe women.
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Two antique hair pins Thai Laos Hill Tribes hair accessories