Five South African Zulu Carved Bone Snuff Spoons / Hair Pins
Five South African Zulu Carved Bone Snuff Spoons / Hair Pins
Five South African Zulu Carved Bone Snuff Spoons / Hair Pins

Five South African Zulu Carved Bone Snuff Spoons / Hair Pins

1800 to 1900 South Africa

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A Collection of Five South African Zulu Carved Bone Snuff Spoons / Hair Pins
Late 19th Century

Sizes: 15cm long – 6 ins long (max) – 11cm long – 4ΒΌ ins long (min)

Snuff taking was a social institution of great importance to both men and women, young and old. An elaborate ritual was followed beginning with cleaning out the nose with a snuff spoon, then spooning in a large pinch and pressing the eyes to induce them to water, and ending with a final cleaning of the nose with the spoon. Zulu snuff consisted of tobacco often ground with cannabis and a good pinch was usually taken before a debate in order to clear the brain. Snuff also accompanied offerings of meat and beer to the ancestors.
Many of these snuff spoons also served as hair-pins as can be seen in the lithographs of 'The Kaffirs Illustrated' (1849) by George French Angas. Sometimes as well as being used for personal adornment they would also be used as sweat scrapers and thus became an extremely personal object to the user.
Medium
Bone
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