Ethnic tribal silver hair pins with applied dragons and repousee work
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 7 ins h x 1½ ins w (18 x 4 cm) decorative part 2½ ins h (6 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: early 20th century
MATERIALS: silver (tested)
Here is a pair of single shafted hair pins made by hand by the Hmong (Miao) hill tribe artisans from the remote mountain villages in Northern Laos. Such hair decorations are typical of the accessories found in this area.
They have a single long and broad shaft to penetrate the hair. They are made in silver using a traditional design which shows Chinese influence in the use of the dragon heads. These are combined in these wonderful hair accessories with the cone like and spiral elements which are more familiar in ornaments among the Hmong people.
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, According to the Hmong shamanic belief, there is a spirit world and a physical world. These two worlds overlap in an interesting and unpredictable way. The Hmong believe that silver has the ability to interact with the spirit world. They traditionally wear large silver jewellery to gain the attention of ancestral spirits, especially during ceremonies. It is common to see Hmong hill tribe women with large unusual hair pins featuring traditional cultural motifs.
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.
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Laos matched pair silver hair pins with dragons ethnic Hmong Miao hill tribe