Chief's regalia (pendant with chain)
The exceptional group (927a-j) of cire perdue (lost wax) ornaments was purchased as being ‘Dogon chief’s regalia, Mali. Found in the lower falaise [cliff] of Bandiagara. Site – village of Irrele [?Tireli]’. There is no certainty that the ten pieces form a group, since they are an unmonitored find; in the absence of comparative material from scientific excavations their age and context cannot be established with any certainty.
The pair of pendants (b) and (c) are circular discs with a central boss and suspension loop. The holes for rings and peg pendants have been punched in after casting. The chains include long cire perdue links, plain or in twisted rope design, joined by circular rings of square-sectioned brass with butted ends. It has been suggested that these pendants are horse trappings. However, Dogon horse furniture is usually shown as a saddle with high pommels, a broad collar and a bridle, so these pendants could well be part of a hogon‘s (priest’s) insignia.
Margaret Carey, 1997
Entry taken from Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection, Vol. 2: Pacific, African and Native North American Art, edited by Steven Hooper (Yale University Press, 1997) pp. 106-108.
Purchased by the Sainsbury Centre, University of East Anglia from Merton Simpson Gallery, New York on the advice of Robert Sainsbury in 1986 out of funds provided by the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Art Trust.
Not on display
Title/Description: Chief's regalia (pendant with chain)
Measurements: l. 702 x w. 110 x d. 18 mm
Accession Number: 927c
Historic Period: 16th-19th century
Cultural Group: Dogon
Credit Line: Purchased with support from the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Art Trust, 1986