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Shuar Earrings

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Dated: pre-1866

Cultural Context: Shuar style

Origin: Pastaza River (Ecuador)

Medium: Elytra from a beetle, bone, feather and plant fibre

Technique: Knotted, twisted, perforated, cut, threaded

Dimensions: Length = 24.5 cm; Width = 8.4 cm

Inventory no.: 13855-1

Pendant composed of two strands of chambira palm used to string together beetle casings, forming two chains that are finished at the ends with toucan feathers resembling flowers. The pendants are attached to a small piece of bird bone that is used to pierce the earlobe and hold the earring. This type of piece is one of the most beautiful and distinctive ornaments of the Shuar culture. In 1930, Tessman wrote in his monograph on the Jíbaro people that "both sexes pierce their ears and wear, in the piecing, a fairly long reed or reed roll often decorated with incised designs. For festive occasions, the Jibaro wear their famous ear ornaments, made of shiny beetle wings or perhaps of the even more beautiful shining leaf chafer (Chrysophora chrysochlora Latr.)”. This pendant is part of the set of items collected by the Pacific Scientific Expedition that took place between 1862 and 1865.

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