Dogon Ring

Dogon ring from Mali. Heavy, made from brass with incised markings.

Tribe: Dogon

Origin: Mali

Approx Age: Early 20th century

Materials: Brass

Dimensions cm: 4 (H)

Ref. Number: 1591


Dogon ring from Mali. Made from brass making it heavy. Incised markings throughout the circumference of the band with a peanut shape adornment to the top. Very symmetrical showing very good signs of years of being worn. A few scuffs and chips as you would expect from an item of such age. Overall in excellent condition.

Provenance: Estate of Rene David (1928-2015)

Exhibited: Musee International du Golfe de Guinee, Togo (2005-2011)


Jewellery in various forms and materials has always accompanied and fascinated people of all cultures. Rings from the Dogon people of Mali made of various material brass being one of them. Being made using the lost wax process extremely well in this case as it is very symmetrical. The adornment on top of the ring thought to be connected with harvest. Ornament rings being regarded as such are also part of religious beliefs in West Africa. Symbolising rank and affiliation of the wearer. In some ethnic groups, fortune tellers prescribe the wearing of protective jewellery that keeps evil spirits away. Rings and ornaments were worn by the Hogon within the Dogon. Rings were also placed, along with twisted iron bracelets, on a type of Dogon family altar called Ginna, where they receive regular sacrificial coatings of blood, millet porridge, and burned herbs mixed with shea butter. Women with health problems would seek the assistance of the ancestors to whom these altars are dedicated, and they wear the rings and bracelets during the healing process and afterward. Jewellery not only has the purpose of adorning the body to show wealth, rank and affiliation but having more of a powerful spiritual reason for the wearer to use its beauty.

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