Oval shaped ivory labret

Two holes bored near one end, incised geometric pattern.

A labret, pronounced lay-brit, is an adornment that is worn in the pierced skin of the face below the bottom lip but also can refer to the piercings in the cheek. The Inuit participated in a considerable amount of face decoration. Tattoos and piercing were the norm. Piercings were usually given to men at the lower sides of the mouth.

After the wound heals the hole is gradually stretched to half an inch in diameter. Pieces of ivory or wood would be carved into flat discs with a grooved edge. The labret would be inserted into the incisions and would be held in place by the outer edges. This type of jewellery is flat backed to provide comfort. The external end of the labret can be decorative in nature, but most were flat with decorative patterns most likely geometric in design. Original owner: Bishop I.O. Stringer


MacBride Museum of Yukon History, Whitehorse

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