Armlet – Sarakole / Soninke People – Mali

Mid 20th century. Aluminum, enamel. Gr. 47,0 (1.65 oz); outer diameter cm 9,2 (3.62 “), inner diameter cm 7,9 (3.11”).

The Sarakolé (also called Soninke) are a Mandé people who descend from the Bafour and are closely related to the Imraguen of Mauritania. They were the founders of the ancient empire of Ghana c. 750-1240 CE. Sarakolé people today live Throughout West Africa, but remain centered on the former homelands of the Ghana Empire and the upper valley of the Senegal river and along the Mali – Senegal border between Nara and Nioro du Sahel.

Even after the decline of the empire the Majority of the Sarakolé families still maintained this hierarchy in Their villages. In the Sarakolé social organization everyone occupies a place. Being king or a smith was not by choice, it was an inherited position. This hierarchy is very important in Sarakolé cultures and it is respected by the Sarakolé.

For similar examples, see page 36 of “A World of Bracelets”, by Anne Van Cutsem.

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