Enquiry about object: 4261

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    Cast Brass Male Fertility Ring

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

    overall approximate widest diameter: 5cm, weight: 52g

    Available Enquire


    private London collection

    This unusual 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 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. The hoop is slightly mis-shapen from age and wear.


    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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