Antique African Brass
Mauritanian "Eye Pencil"
Traditionally used by Mauritanian ladies to apply their make-up ( ATB 217-16 & 19 )
A superb antique "pencil" and leather pouch containing African "mascara" - both purchased from their lady owner in Chinguetti - Northern Mauritania ( ATB 217-17 )
The "mascara" is a jet black fine powder, very effective when used by the light skinned Mauritanian ladies and very powerful stuff indeed .. having just had to wash it off my fingers, the scanner, my workplace and everything else it and my fingers came in contact with, whilst scanning the pouch !!
Most likely to have been made by the Kirdi or other non-Islamic people of the Mandara mountains bordering Nigeria and Cameroon .. using the lost-wax casting process. See page 50 of Collectible Beads by Robert K Liu, the source of these details, for a superb photograph and more information on these beautiful items.
Hair Decoration Tubes
Traditionally worn by the young ladies of the nomadic Wodaabe tribe .. who live in central Niger, parts of Nigeria and Cameroon. Once a year, at the height of the rainy season, up to three thousand Wodaabe gather to celebrate the Geerewol festival, a chance to catch up on the rest of their tribe's lives and pursue their loves. If you are lucky enough to own a copy of Angela Fisher's Africa Adorned .. on page 158, you will see a young Wodaabe girl with her long plaits of hair wrapped in these brass tubes. This signifies that she is considered particularly beautiful and will partake in judging the performance of the young men dancing at the Geerewol ceremony.
This and a myriad of further fascinating facts can be found in Angela's book, which we gratefully acknowledge to be the source of the above information.