The finial of this Kwere hair pin features a carved geometric form, intricately decorated with raised Swahili designs. Above, two figures are depicted standing back-to-back, each facing outwardly with a pair of white-beaded eyes. One of the figures features a pair of breasts, demarcating the figure as female, who stands upright cradling her stomach in a gesture of fertility. The other, the male, has his arms resting on his side. Over time, the surface of the hair pin has developed a beautiful worn patina.
Among the Kwere of Tanzania, elaborate hair pins such as this would have been given as bridal or dowry gifts by a man to a woman, often by a father of the bride to his daughter. Kept as a symbol of marriage, these prized possessions would be passed down the generations.
Estimated Period: Mid 20th Century
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