About the Artwork
Many 19th-century Congolese men and women used elegant iron hairpins to adorn stunning hairdos that could take days to perfect and often required headrests to keep them off the ground during sleep. The hairpins’ pointed ends additionally helped in teasing out strands of hair in the styling process. High- status Mangbetu women wore broad, halo-shaped coiffures studded with iron as well as ivory pins. Zande men used fine pins surmounted by two or more tall blades to complete their adornment.
Looking Closely: Combining Form and Function
While looking at these hairpins, take notes on how the design is carefully created to be both beautiful and functional. User-centered design remains a major topic today, as items are created to fulfill specific needs while also presenting aesthetically-appealing designs.