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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