Inventory no.: 1869

Dogon Brass Fertility Ring, Africa

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Cast Brass Fertility Ring

Dogon People, Mali

19th century

height: 4.3cm, weight: 15g

This ring has a bezel cast with two cone-like finials that are decorated with a spiral or coil motif. The form appears to be based on the antlers of an antelope (walu), a form more usually employed on Dogon masks (see Lamp et al, 2012, p. 102 for an example), or as van Cutsem (2000) suggests, on the shape of typical traditional Dogon granaries with pointy roofs.

A similar example is illustrated in van Cutsem (2000, p. 65).

The ring has splendid wear with softened contours, and a fine chocolate colour. It is marked to one side of the bezel with an old collection inventory number.

References

van Cutsem, A., A World of Rings: Africa, Asia, America, Skira, 2000.

Lamp, F.J., A.M. Maples & L.M. Smalligan,

Accumulating Histories: African Art from the Charles B. Benenson Collection at the Yale University Art Gallery, Yale University Press, 2012.

Provenance

Private Collection, Germany, acquired 1960-81

Inventory no.: 1869

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A dogon village, Mali, early 20th century, showing numerous Dogon granaries.