Stirrup Irons from Mali

These irons from Mali are made by the Bamana tribe.

They show a very economical working of the iron, simply taking a rod of iron and shaping it into a loop at the top and then flattening a piece for the foot support. They are quite crude but yet individual.

They would be used by someone wearing shoes. Their width and simplicity is enchanting and they once again prove that a common object can take on many forms and reflects its maker and its user.

We in the UK are sadly lacking in this level of craftsmanship and diversity. In the UK peer pressure supports conformity, in Africa peer pressure supports diversity.

Size 6” x 6” (15 cm x 15 cm)

Provenance purchased from Harvey Derrien 19th June 2008 £35. For private collector.