Dogon Iron Necklace
Dogon iron necklace, smooth on one side, twisted on the other.
Approx Age: Early – Mid 20th Century
Dimensions cm: 11 (diameter)
Ref. Number: 1318
Dogon iron necklace, smooth iron on one side in contrast to the twisted iron on the other this is a lovely piece of Dogon jewellery. With scroll end opening this necklace then leads down to a loop created through which an iron ring has been made and attached. A charm or amulet in the shape of a bell (perhaps?) hangs from the attached ring. In lovely condition, this necklace is a testimony to the skill of the Dogon craftsmen who create such fascinating works of Dogon art.
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
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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