In the past, only Maasai warriors had the right to wear similar single ornaments in their distended ear lobes. The surface of this Maasai ear adornment, carved from bone, is decorated with a finely incised pattern of triangular lines. This design, featured on one side of the adornment, would have been visible when worn in the ear of the warrior.
In roughly over three decades of dealing, Bryan has only handled four such examples of Maasai ear adornments, which have all derived from English colonial collections. Whilst similar pieces - from the Colette and Jean-Pierre Ghysels collection - have been published in Anne Van Cutsem’s A World of Earrings: Africa, Asia, America (2003), it is extremely hard to find other known published examples. This particular Maasai ear adornment came from a convent in Scotland, UK.
Estimated Period: Second Half of 19th Century
A. Van Cutsem (2003) A World of Earrings: Africa, Asia, America, Oceania p. 53