6358

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Four Argobba-Ethiopian High-Grade Silver Bracelets

Argobba People, Ethiopia
circa 1900

internal diameters: 5.0-5.5cm, heights: 3.1cm-5cm, combined weight: 642g

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Provenance

UK art market

These four, well-worn, heavy, high-grade silver bracelets, are from the Argobba people of Ethiopia.

Each is decorated with various forms of ribbing. Two are of ‘C’ form, and the other two are fully circular, one with a hinge and pin closing mechanism, and the other with a hinge and snap-closing mechanism.

All four have relatively small internal diameters and appear to have been intended for young women or girls. But each is surprisingly heavy in the hand – the silver used was not economised upon.

Each is very sculptural and decorative. Each has a lovely colour on accord of the high purity of the silver that has been used, and each has superb wear that has resulted from years and possibly several generations of use that has softened their contours.

The Argobba are a small Islamic trading and merchant minority spread across small villages in the eastern Ethiopia. They have their own language.

Similar examples are illustrated in van Cutsem  (2002, p. 99).

References

van Cutsem, A., A World of Bracelets: Africa, Asia, Oceania, America, Skira, 2002.

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