Toposa Tribe South Sudan Iron Chest Plate Pendant


Before guns and modern arms, humans had to defend themselves fighting hand-to-hand combat. During the pre-colonial times, Africans created unique weaponry that was used in wars, ritual celebrations, hunting, and sometimes as emblems of power and prestige. A shield could be made for a feast day, for a ritual dance, or for a parade.

Knives, axes, spears, and armour made of forged iron exhibit the technical skills and artistry of many traditional African peoples. Most expose an inventive variety of form and workmanship. This piece of a brass chest armour has a length of 7.75 inches, the stand gives it a total length of 11 inches. The width is 5 inches across, and the depth with stand is 2 inches. Though it had been fabricated for protection, now it will be seen worn as a pendant by both men and women.

The Toposa are one of the largest tribal groups of Southern Sudan. They have a very organized way of life, predominately focused around accumulating and tending large herds of cattle. The women tend the homes and the men raise the cattle. Cultural norms and values are transmitted through songs, dance, music, poems and folklore.

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