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Pectoral (The Rao Pectoral) and Five Gold Beads

Not on view

The exceptional quality and weight (6.7 ounces) of this pectoral make it the most impressive of the burial goods found at a site in northwest Senegal. Its decoration, elaborated in registers of bosses, arabesques, and diamond patterns made out of filigree, suggests an awareness of Islamic workmanship. The practice of erecting large mounds, or tumuli, over the graves of important individuals in the Sahel is related to commemorative practices and beliefs that preceded the arrival of Islam and continued well beyond its adoption into the fourteenth century.

Pectoral (The Rao Pectoral) and Five Gold Beads, Gold

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Photo: Antoine Tempé