African art > Jewelry, ornament > Senoufo ring

Senufo silence ring in copper (N° 19556)

This ring is a symbol of prestige, copper being a sacred metal, and its animal motifs, buffalo head and bird, recall the Senufo genesis. Called the "ring of silence", probably by virtue of the secrecy to which the initiates are subjected, it was sometimes worn on the left hand, sometimes held between the teeth by healers during ceremonies with a therapeutic aim. Total height on base: 20 cm. Mainly farmers, the Senoufo group lives in a savannah region that covers the south of Mali and Burkina Faso, and the north of the Ivory Coast. It includes about fifty sub-ethnic groups. The Senufo speak a Voltaic language, Gur, like the Lobi and Koulango. If among the five groups of Senoufo artisans the kulibèlé are sculptors, the fonombèlé are both smiths and sculptors, claiming to be directly inspired by God. It is furthermore established that the technique of casting was already practiced 800 to 900 years ago in northern Côte d'Ivoire. The fonombèlé, often itinerant, repaired agricultural tools, fashioned household utensils, and traditionally made cult objects.
Litt: "Animal sculptures of black Africa" G. Massa. ed. Sepia.  

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OriginEx-collection belge J.P.L.
EthnySenoufo
Countryburkina faso
Material(s)copper
Height7
Width4
Weight0.19 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle includedYes

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