Extra Fine Old Tuareg Bella-Ikelan Amulet – Niger
Silver grams 11,7 (0.41 oz.); cm. 7,2 long x cm. 5,7 width (2.83″ x 2.24″) .
The Tuareg people have in the past had a highly socially stratified society, with specific social roles (warriors, religious leaders) or professions (blacksmiths, farmers, merchants) assigned to specific castes. Tuareg higher caste traditions value a nomadic life, warfare, study, animal husbandry, and trade. Consequently, Higher caste communities travel, at least seasonally, if able. The tiny aristocratic caste of warrior elite which once sat atop a pyramid of Tuareg society was decimated during the wars of the colonial period, and this, along with economic necessity, post-colonial border restrictions, and modern education, have broken down many traditional caste barriers.
While post-independence states have sought to outlaw slavery, results have been mixed. Traditional caste relationships have continued in many places, including the institution of slavery. In some areas, the descendants of those slaves known as the Bella are still slaves in all but name. In Niger, where the practice of slavery was outlawed in 2003, a study found that almost 8% of the population were still enslaved two years later
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