head-ring, noun

Especially in traditional Zulu society: a ring of fibre, resin, and beeswax worked into the hair and worn as a mark of status by adult men; isicoco; ring noun1; ringkop sense b; ring-top sense b. See also ringed.
1855 J.W. Colenso Ten Weeks in Natal 175On the way, Mr. Shepstone drew my attention to the singular stuff upon the Mimosa-thorn, which I have before mentioned as the material, out of which the Zulu-Kafirs construct their curious head rings.
1855 R.B. Struthers Hunting Jrnl (1991) 93I asked a native to procure me some ‘Umgiane’ the gummy matter used by the Zulus in making their ‘isicoco’ or headring.
1866 C. Barter Alone among Zulus 51When a Zulu soldier has attained a certain standing he receives the royal permission to marry, and adopt the head-ring as a mark of manhood.
1898 B. Mitford Induna’s Wife 45His face was lined and his beard had grown grey; and his hair — which, being in some measure in disgrace, he had neglected to shave — seemed quite white against the blackness of his headring.
1905 Native Tribes of Tvl 67The Shangaans..approach more nearly to the Zulus in physique...They alone wear an imitation of the Zulu head-ring, which with the Zulus denotes the proved warrior.
1937 B.H. Dicke Bush Speaks 338A tall magwamba who sported a head ring, like proved warriors of the Zulu tribes wear.
1946 S. Cloete Afr. Portraits 215Lobengula, the mountain of black flesh that had once been a Matabele warrior: a tall fat man naked but for his head ring, the feather of a parakeet in his hair, and a sporran of blue monkey skin about his loins.
1956 P. Becker Sandy Tracks 129Two old Swazi aristocrats..were..bent up with age; and smooth headrings, made of beeswax and roots, adorned their bald heads...These old men..were village heads, prominent tribesmen who had earned the privilege of wearing the distinctive headring.
1967 E.M. Slatter My Leaves Are Green 21When a Zulu was allowed by his king to wear a headring, he shaved his head except for a ring of hair on top which was wound round a circlet of fibre. This he waxed with black wax from a honeycomb, and finally polished with leaves.
1976 West & Morris Abantu 54 (caption)Around his head is the traditional head-ring of a married man...Traditionally the head-ring was of wax into which the hair was woven..but a rubber ring is the accepted modern alternative.
a ring of fibre, resin, and beeswax worked into the hair and worn as a mark of status by adult men; isicoco; ringnoun; ringkopb; ring-topb.
Entry Navigation

Visualise Quotations

Quotation summary