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Cast Bronze Spiral Ring
Dogon People, Mali
18th-19th century

diameter of bezel: 3.5cm: weight: 24g

This fine ring has been cast with a bezel of five spirals, and a band cast with ridges.

The precise meaning of the circular motifs has several interpretations. Perhaps they represent shields.  Van Cutsem (2000, p. 60) says that they represent
marsh waterlilies that bloom after downpours of rain. Barmert (1980, p. 322) says that the spirals represent the perpetual expanse of the universe.

Both van Cutsem and Barmert illustrate similar examples.

The ring has substantial wear with softened contours, and a fine chocolate colour. It is marked to the inside of the ring with two old collection inventory
numbers.

References:
Barmert, A.,
Africa: Tribal Art of Forest and Savanna, Thames & Hudson, 1980.
van Cutsem, A.,
A World of Rings: Africa, Asia, America, Skira, 2000.

Provenance:
Private Collection, Germany, acquired 1960-81

Inventory no.: 1867

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