Plaited Leather Reins from Mali

This woven leather work is done by the women of the Songhai, near Gao in Mali. These highly coloured intricate pieces are as far as we can tell to decorate the horse in some way. I have suggested that they may be reins as they as very similar to those made in America.

The item consists of two long arms of leather woven from thin strips and lacquered. Each section is decorated with tassels with woven centers. The black and white chequer board decorations are made from fine strips of plastic! The two arms meet with toggles divided by more lacquered leather work and then join into one piece. It would have taken hours and hours of work to execute this beautiful piece. 84” (213 cm) long.

Provenance: purchased from Harvey Derrien for Private collector 2003. Approx Value £200.