Dogon Necklace

Tag adorned Dogon necklace.

Tribe: Dogon

Origin: Mali

Approx Age: Mid 20th Century

Materials: Iron

Dimensions cm: 11 (diameter) x 2.5 (opening)

Ref. Number: 1319


Dogon necklace. One half of this necklace has the twisted style so often seen on bangles whereas the other half remains plain giving a contrast. Crafted from iron having scroll ends created on either side of the necklace opening. The main body of this necklace incorporates twisted sections creating an open loop to which a single ring of iron has been added. A small tag design adornment sits neatly on the iron ring. An interesting item of Dogon jewellery.

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 known for their iron bracelets and adornments in general which are often made out of wrapped iron. Bracelets were made 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 of the village, the Hogon being 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. So revered is the Hogon know body should touch the Hogon.

Because of their belief in the powers that items of body adornment such as jewellery hold it is not uncommom that the hunters of the village will also be wearers of such item for their protective powers. These powers are also in the form of charms or amulets. The metal workers of the Dogon are famed for thier extraordinary creation and construction of jewellery. Many charms or amulets are made in the form of bearded figures, sun, stars, snakes, rabbits and monkeys. Each of these symbolising its own power and protective property.

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