Ivory Ear Ornaments (Hakakai)

Marquesan (Enata) people

Not on view

In the Marquesas Islands, ivory ear ornaments (hakakai)
made from whale teeth were worn by both men and
women. Larger hakakai such as the pair seen here were
worn by men. The ornaments consist of a large disk
worn in front of the ear and a curved spur that, inserted
through a large hole in the earlobe, projected behind the
ear. The spurs were frequently adorned, as here, with
small tiki (human images).
It is probable that larger hakakai, such as the ones
seen here, developed in the early 1800’s when western
vessels brought great quantities of whale teeth to the
islands as trade items.

Ivory Ear Ornaments (Hakakai), Whale ivory, Marquesan (Enata) people

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