Group of three metal Dogon bangles/bracelets from Mali.
Approx Age: Mid 20th Century
Dimensions cm: 8.5 (diameter)
Ref. Number: 1360
Dogon bangles/bracelets compleat this group of three bangles/bracelets are from the Dogon people of Mali. Although similar in shape and size each one has its own individuality. The heaviest and most chunky being made of bronze which has no pattern or design evident, the second is a solid ring with an incised pattern throughout the bangle but has been worn off in places and the last bangle is a broken ring but it also has some patterning close to the opening. All these bangles/bracelets show signs of age and age-related wear and tear.
Provenance: Ex Lampevelden Collection, collected 1970’s
The Dogon are an ethnic group living in the central plateau region of Mali, in West Africa, south of the Niger bend, near the city of Bandiagara, in the Mopti region. The population numbers between 400,000 and 800,000. The Dogon are believed to be of Egyptian decent and their astronomical lore goes back thousands of years to 3200 BC. According to their traditions, the star Sirius has a companion star which is invisible to the human eye. Among the Dogon, several oral traditions have been recorded as to their origin. One relates to their coming from Mande, located to the southwest of the Bandiagara escarpment near Bamako. According to this oral tradition, the first Dogon settlement was established in the extreme southwest of the escarpment at Kani-Na.
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. 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. The Hogon is always a man. After being chosen, a Hogon must pass through several months without washing or shaving. After initiation, he wears a red cap and a pearl bracelet. Hogon live alone and should be celibate, but a village girl may act as a maid. Nobody should touch the Hogon.
These bracelets were also used as fetishes, objects believed to have supernatural powers and therefore could protect the wearer hence it is an item of jewellery often worn by the hunters within the village.
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