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Ndoro Silver Belt Buckle

The ndoro has a fascinating history within Zimbabwe's material culture, and it certainly merits its own story.

Buckle Dimensions:
Length 6.2cm x Height 6.7cm

Shown here with black crocodile-skin belt.
Price of belt excluded.


The Definitive Luxury Brand From Africa

Ndoro Belt Buckle

Ndoro are southern Africa’s most striking totems of prestige and beauty. They were originally seashells that had been ground flat into their distinctive whirl shape. Ndoro found in Zimbabwe can be divided into two separate categories. Firstly, there is the original marine mollusc of the genus Conus Virgo or the calcareous Operculum of large marine snails such as Conus Turbo and secondly, there is the mass-produced factory copies of the natural mollusc.

Having established themselves on the Mozambique coast and having started trade links with the interior, the Portuguese first learned of the value placed upon the ndoro, which, because of its scarcity, was much sought-after. The Portuguese took advantage of this demand by introducing large quantities of the natural mollusc, ndoro and later, mass-produced factory ceramic and porcelain copies. Portuguese traders of the sixteenth, seventeenth and later centuries are believed to have exchanged ndoro for gold, ivory and other goods. Most of the ndoro found in Zimbabwe today are the ceramic or porcelain copies of the natural ndoro.

Perhaps the earliest written reference to the ndoro can be found in the journals of a sixteenth century Portuguese chronicler who observed that: ‘The Monomatapa and the Macarangas and their vassals wear on their foreheads a white shell, as a jewel, strung from the hair, and the Monomatapa wears another large shell on his chest. They call these shells Andoros’.

According to a colourful legend, the ndoro played a dramatic role in the early history of Zimbabwe. At some time in the fifteenth century, it helped in a battle. The story goes that a descendant of Mutota, the apparent founder of the Munhumutapa dynasty, was trying to subjugate a rival king named Karuva. Discovering, through a spy, that Karuva held the ndoro in great awe and respect, he ordered his warriors to wear ndoro upon their foreheads as they marched into battle against Karuva’s forces. On seeing the ndoro-ornamented soldiers approach, Karuva became confused, and the tide of the battle turned against him.

In the northeastern region of Zimbabwe, oral history suggests that ndoro were brought into the country by the Muzungu or Gouveias, or Portuguese traders, from Mozambique. Ndoro were used by chiefs in Shona society as symbols of rank and authority and as signifiers of wealth.

Patrick has used the ndoro shape in many of his jewellery designs including chains, pendants and earrings. Silver ndoro age beautifully and always have that African look and feel to them.

About

Item code: 536-403

Made by hand in Zimbabwe

Complimentary gift wrapping

Ships from London flagship store

Complimentary Standard Shipping Worldwide on orders over £200. More about Shipping & Delivery
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£390 GBP

$513 USD

€437 EUR

Payment made in GBP. Currency conversions are estimates only.

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Every Patrick Mavros silver sculpture is made using the ancient technique of lost wax casting. Obtaining a silver sculpture of the original wax model is a long and involved process. The wax model is encased in liquid rubber which, once set, is carefully cut away to provide a negative. Into this cavity... More about silver casting »

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Complimentary Worldwide Delivery on all Orders Over £200

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