Bracelets were essential to a woman’s collection, and a simple version was often a Wolof woman’s first acquisition. Like necklaces and earrings, bracelets come in a wide variety of inventive styles, from the braided and twisted designs, which required the female client’s presence to designate the tightness of the twist, to delicate, European-inspired flowers, to Islamic-inspired half-moon bracelets.
This bracelet was named after Lamine Gueye, a highly respected and admired politician. A Senegalese diplomat in the French Parliament, he was instrumental in gaining the right to vote for women in French colonies, like Senegal. Senegalese women donned their finery, including jewelry, and regularly attended his talks.
Large solid-backed C-form bracelet in gold-plated silver alloy with applied vertical lines of twisted and coiled wire alternating with solid bands. The C-form curves gracefully into a central diamond shape which is decorated with applied globules, several of which are missing.
Marian Johnson, purchased in Dakar, Senegal, 1963-late 20th century to 2012
Good As Gold: Fashioning Senegalese Women, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., October 24, 2018-September 29, 2019
African Mosaic: Selections from the Permanent Collection, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., November 19, 2013–August 12, 2019 (installed November 7, 2014-August 1, 2017)
Maples, Amanda, Ashby Johnson, Marian, and Dumouchelle, Kevin D., 2018, Good As Gold, Washington, D.C.: NMAfA, Smithsonian, p. 55, illustrated p. 57