Sao Ring - African art

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Sao Sokoto Healer Ring (N° 17842)

Used as an amulet credited with apotropaic virtues, this small bronze sculpture is, for the Sao, a talisman supposed to protect them from madness. It is therefore worn at all times. The horseman-talisman is here mounted on a ring worn by the soothsayer during divination rituals. The genius who would possess the madman is represented by the rider, the horse depicting the victim. This rider wearing a cheche rides an equine that was a rare prestige attribute in these sahel regions. Height on a base: 11 cm.
The Sao, ancestors of the Kotoko, were established between the 12th and 14th centuries in a geographical area extending along the borders between Chad, northern Cameroon and Nigeria. They settled on hills, which allowed them to repel the invaders. Subjected to the successive onslaughts of their neighbours in Kanem and then to hordes from the east, the Sao had to abandon their lands to settle in the north-west of Cameroon where they mixed with the natives thus giving birth to an ethnic group named Kotoko. Lost wax cast iron was already commonly practiced as early as the 12th century by this African ethnic group, which mainly produced copper alloy jewellery among prestigious objects. The Kotoko still attribute to copper metal a mythical origin giving it a protective value.

Source: Horse and rider in the art of black African G. Massa, ed. Sepia  

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Originex-collection Mercier
Weight0.10 Kg
Estimated dating1ère halfxx°
Socle includedYes

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