ear distender

5.461

This item was worn as an ear distorting ornament to lengthen the lobes by elongating the holes, and the weight would have significantly extended the ear lobes. It is from the Fly River in Papua New Guinea. The Fly River is the second longest river in the country, after the Sepik River, and the entrance to the Delta is 100km wide, featuring low-lying swampy islands. Europeans first arrived at the river whilst conducting a survey of the western coast in 1845, naming the river after the commander’s ship, HMS Fly. The ear ornament arrived at the Museum from a well-known antique dealer from Hertfordshire who was active in London in 1905. Other items that the Museum acquired from the same source include necklets, arrowheads, and tattoo instruments as well as a number of other ear ornaments.

Collection Information

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