Antique Bronze Bead Necklace with Hanging Bell Pendants, Mali.
This necklace is from the Dogon people, who live high in the cliffs of the West African savannah, and make necklaces and jewelry of iron and copper alloy.
A similar necklace is found in the book, The History of Beads, by Lois Dubin, p. 122. It is estimated to be at least 150 years old, but may be several hundreds years old, from the time when western Sudanese kingdoms flourished and Djenne and Timbuktu were important centers of learning and trade (Dubin). A customer of ours tells us that she was told by a trader that these necklaces are very special and that the “bells" are cups used to house the spirits of the wearer's ancestors.
This is a wearable necklace that weighs approximately 10 ounces and does not make noise when you walk.
Approximately 60 beads (including 4 long focal beads and several other large beads) and 3 bells.
26 inches of beads. Short bells measure approximately 1.75 inches tall. Longer bell measures approximately 2.5 inches.
A very special piece.
Collector Item 174c