Zulu amaShaza earplugs(isiquaza) were initially worn by Zulu men from the 19thj century onwards as indicators of completed circumcision. They were also worn by tribal Zulu women from the 1950s when they were presented as gifts by husbands returning from migrant work in the cities;
The design of these body ornaments reached their height in the 1950s, when Zulu craftsmen discovered vinyl floor tiles which could be cut and formed into intricate mosaic patterns based on traditional beadwork. Each piece of vinyl was to cut to shape, glued in place and the hand carved roudn wooden disc, and then fixed permanently using old wind up gramophone needles.
The designs and colours were based on traditional beadwork and symbolised the place of origin and social status of the wearer.
This exceptionally fine and large pair of amaShaza have diameter of x cm . inches, with the intricate design picked out in red, white and blue on a white background.
Ear plugs of thsy tuyope are no logner made nd are eagerly sought aftert as collector's items.