Dogon Ankle Adornment

Dogon ankle adornment, oval in shape, delicate to hold and made of iron.

Tribe: Dogon

Origin: Mali

Approx Age: Mid 20th Century

Materials: Iron

Dimensions cm: 10 (long) x 6.5 (wide)

Ref. Number: 1320


Dogon ankle adornment, both made and worn by the Dogon this is a lovely, made of iron but delicate in nature Dogon ankle adornment or bracelet. Oval in shape and worn around the ankle, fashioned in iron and twisted to give a design throughout. Either end has been sealed off with a carefully crafted dome-shaped piece of iron which gives an extra sense of design. One end shows a little thinning of the ironwork but due to the age of this piece it is only to be expected. Overall a pretty item of Dogon jewellery.

Provenance: Ex Lampevelden Collection, collected 1970’s


The Dogon are known for their iron bracelets and adornments in general which are often made out of wrapped iron worn by the Hogon, the spiritual leader of the Dogon community. These adornments primarily had a ritual meaning. Bracelets were made from iron among other materials, to be worn, but also used as a gift for the deceased. These bracelets were also used as fetishes, objects believed to have supernatural powers and therefore could protect the wearer. Worn by the Hogon, the Dogon spiritual man.  A Hogon is a religious figure as well as a temporal authority. The Hogon may be hereditary or may be chosen from among the village elders—custom varies from place to place.

Not all bangles, however would be purely for the spiritual members of the village, as a piece of jewellery they would be worn by women as everyday body adornments. The ankle bracelet/anklet being of no exception. An attractive piece of body adornment when not that many years ago such items were used in the slave trade. Bangles/manilla’s, as it is well documented, being used as a form of currency also. Throughout many tribes in Africa bangles or anklets take on many shapes and forms each with its own symbolic identity.

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