4265

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Cast Brass Male Fertility Ring

Muria People, Bastar, Madhya Pradesh, India
18th-19th century

overall approximate widest diameter: 6cm, weight: 46g

Available - Ask about this item

Provenance

private London collection

This unusual, dramatic ritual ring with scenes of farming including oxen used in ploughing and so on, is of cast brass, and is of a type worn by Muria tribal men in Bastar in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. According to Untrecht (1997, p. 263), such rings were used as a male fertility talisman at the time of ploughing and crop sowing. Among the Muria, the earth (Tallur-Muttai, or ‘mother earth’) was considered as a female which the male farmer plowed and then injected his seed.

Untrecht (p. 263) and van Cutsem (2000, p. 146-147) illustrate several related examples.

The example here includes a pair of oxen and a farmer ploughing and other farming-related elements.

The ring has a fine patina, obvious age, and excellent miniature sculptural quality. It is complete; there are no losses or repairs.

References

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

Untracht, O., Traditional Jewelry of India, Thames & Hudson, 1997.

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