[ Bracelets and Anklets ]


Joints in Full Blossom A circle is a perfect shape that has neither a beginning nor an end. Not only an ornament, the unifying circle maintains the connection between body and soul, which is the reason that ancient warriors wore such a large number of bracelets. In Egypt bracelets are removed from the dead so that their souls are allowed to escape. In India so-called 'spirit' bracelets are worn to ward off evil spirits. When people are very poor, a common thread is worn around the wrist, instead of silver. When a person wearing this pseudo-bracelet dies, the thread must be broken, to set the soul free. The bracelet is loaded with symbolic significance. It identifies the individual's place in the context of his or her social setting. It is a symbol of power or wealth or a protective charm. Ancient artifacts unearthed from various parts of the world prove the ancient desire of human beings to protect the most exposed parts of their bodies and their joints. Worn on the wrist, the forearm, above the elbow, or on the upper arm, the ankle, the calf, or the thigh, this ornament takes on multiple forms. Indian and Muslim women almost always wear bracelets in pair, while in Africa cover their arms and legs with bracelets and anklets for the ultimate protection. The women in North Africa wear bracelets and anklets on key moments of their lives: their naming, the onset of puberty, marriage and the birth of a child. At times when money is needed jewellery may be cashed. There is a well-known proverb in Africa, ""Bracelets are made for difficult times."" In West Africa bronze ornament are linked to religious beliefs. At a person's naming ceremony, the soothsayer prescribes a lifelong wearing of a brass bracelet. At the death of its owner, this jewellery houses the person's spirit and is an incarnation of the deceased. It is placed on an altar where it is offered food and prayers. Ivory ornaments are worn to indicate status and are believed to possess magical powers. The flat armlets of Dinka signify the owner's wealth, and the massive bracelets of Nigeria with a weight of 28 pounds are a mark of the high social position and imply the spiritual purity of the wearer. Wearing anklets in North Africa dates back at least to antiquity. It is customary for the bridegroom to offer anklets to his future wife. They are presented to her during the wedding ceremonies. This sign, which affirms her marital status, will never leave her. The massive anklet of the Dan chief's wife in Ivory Coast-weighing over 6 kilograms-gave her a distinguished bearing but making movement difficult. The wearers of heavy and cumbersome ornaments from ethnic cultures are happy to suffer in order to display such conspicuous wealth.