The Secrets of Savannah

Posted on August 12, 2013

Republic of You collects a vast array of vintage, antique and collectible items from across the globe. We breathe new life into forgotten relics from history creating unique and meaningful exclusive one-off pieces of wearable art.  We encourage individuality whilst at the same time celebrating history, art, fashion and creativity.

Each piece individually handcrafted in our Byron Bay studio is given its own unique title and an accompanying story listing the features incorporated within the piece.

This piece titled The Secrets of Savannah, features:

  • Authentic buffalo teeth from the United States.
  • Old Indian silver alloy coin pendants from Nepal dated from 1970 to 1973.
  • Antique hand crafted ornate brass and trade beads from the Baule Tribe of the Ivory Coast, Africa (see history below).
  • Brass beading and chain detail on knotted hemp with an adjustable brass chain.

The Baule Tribe, also known as Baoulé, are one of the largest ethnic groups of the Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) in Africa. They played a central role in twentieth-century history of their country having waged the longest war of resistance to French colonization of any West African people, whilst also managing to maintain their traditional beliefs and objects for longer than many other ethnic groups.

According to a legend, during the eighteenth century when Ashanti rose to power, the Baule led by Queen Pokou were forced to leave Ghana as it’s known today. Fleeing for their lives, they travelled west and arrived at the shores of the Comoe, a large river they were unable to cross. The tribe began to throw their most prized possessions into the river. The Queen realized their most valuable possession was her son, and in order to save the tribe she needed to sacrifice him to the river.

Upon throwing him in, a large hippopotamus rose from the river allowing the tribe to cross, thus saving their lives.  After the crossing, Queen Pokou was so distraught about losing her son she kept repeating ‘baouli’, ‘baouli’, meaning ‘the child is dead’. This sacrifice was the origin of the name of the tribe, and from that point onwards they were known as the Baoulé.

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