Ethnic Jewels

An appreciation of ethnic jewellery and adornment

These charms or good luck pieces were first worn by African slaves in Brazil in the 17th and 18th centuries. They are called "Penca de Balangandan" and were common in the state of Bahia, Brazil. They were traded as well as bought and sold. The charms or amulets were sometimes given to slaves by the plantation owner as a reward for good behavior or loyal service or to mark special occasions. The shapes have different meanings. Penca were usually made of silver, brass, or copper and could be worn as a necklace or bracelet or pinned to a garment. Some were hung in doorways to ward off evil or for good luck. The shape of the holder varies. Shapes similar to the one you have symbolize the boat that brought slaves from Africa. The two birds facing each other on the holder represent Africa and Brazil.

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Location: Bahia Brazil

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Comment by Eva Baby on September 19, 2015 at 3:34
nice and never seen before! Lovely.
Comment by ann on February 9, 2014 at 0:34

These charms really appeal to me also.

Comment by Alaa eddine SAGID on February 7, 2014 at 1:34

Very good information thank you for sharing

Comment by Anna Holland on February 6, 2014 at 13:18
That's amazing, Ishvara. Can't believe the price! You're very fortunate to have that kind of access. I've spent some time in Cape Town, but did not come across such treasures. I did, however, find an excellent collection of Ekipas that originate in Nambia, but even that took a lot of detective work. Very nice.

Frankie - Hi! All is excellent - thank you! Hope you're just as happy!
Comment by Betty on February 6, 2014 at 11:54

This is lovely! Thanks for the interesting information.

Comment by Ishvara Dhyan on February 6, 2014 at 5:24

Yes Anna , i bought it yesterday at an Antique shop in Johannesburg for $10-00 ... one of the perks of living in South Africa is stumbling across unusual finds at rediculously low prices ... There are so many interesting finds here because we were the halfway stop between Europe and Asia for 300 years

Comment by Ethnic Embellishments on February 6, 2014 at 4:40

Great information.  I'd always assumed that they were old tourist trinkets for visitors to Bahia Brazil, with the charms representing the produce industries, fishing, and a mate gourd with figa (Portuguese/ Brazilian hamsa) to ward off the evil eye!

Comment by Frankie Carter on February 5, 2014 at 23:52

This one does have lots of lovely charms. Coincidentally I`ve just been viewing just the basic brooch on an online site about an hour ago. I got as far as thinking it`s from S. America but couldn`t get further though I knew I should know. I had no idea the two facing birds represented Africa and Brazil. Thank you, Ishvara.

Hi Anna! Hope all`s well with you.

Comment by Anna Holland on February 5, 2014 at 23:31
Ishvara - I am completely in love with this piece. It's fabulous. I have seen its components separately, but never intact. Thank you for presenting it and giving such wonderful information regarding its history. I assume it is yours ... ?
Comment by Eva Baby on February 5, 2014 at 17:58

very interesting Information, thank you! Nice to see, never seen before.

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