Contemporary 92.5 Sterling Silver cast from a vintage original, dating from the early 20th Century.
Tuareg Crosses have 21 separate identifiable styles, each of which indicates a city/ area of origin within Niger, West Africa. The example shown here is a Zinder Cross
The word ”Cross” was a term mis-attributed by Europeans, and is totally unrelated to the Cross in Tuareg belief systems. To the Tuareg, the Cross symbolizes the Four Cardinal Points of Direction. Traditional Tuareg Cultures were, and to this day still are Desert Nomads. Tuareg live in one of the most inhospitable areas of Africa: the central part of the Sahara Desert. A pinnacle of their Spiritual Existence is to protect and defend themselves from hostile supernatural forces that inhabit the cruel and extreme surrounding Desert environment. The Cross is believed to be a Charm that protects travelers from traps set by the Evil Spirits of ”Jinn” (Demons) and to attract the protection of Beneficial Genies.
The instruments of Physical and Spiritual Protection are the Amulets and Talisman of their Culture. Every Tuareg, man or woman, old or young child, has an amulet or a talisman: Leather (the Gri-Gri) or Silver (the Khomissar, the Tcherot, and the Herz), often contain magic writings, symbolisms, or verses from the Koran. One particular Symbol stands out among these Talisman, which is the Tuareg Cross or Crossroads Pendant.
Living Nomadic lives, to the Tuareg paths, roads and directions are essential for survival. In Traditional Tuareg lore, Crosses and Charms are passed down within families with the words, “I give you the Four Corners of the World, because one cannot know where one will die”.
The Origins of the symbolism of the circle and points structure of Tuareg Crosses have several historical theories:
1. they bear resemblance to the Egyptian Ankh symbol, and the Berber Punic and Phoenician symbol for the Goddess Tanit.
2. they are a symbol of Sexual Unity: especially noted in Agadez, Zinder and In Gall Crosses. There is a stylized depiction of the two sex symbols: the Tip (phallus), male symbol, and the Ring, the symbol of women. Together they form the Union between Masculine and Feminine, Male and Female. In plain terms the Zinder Pendant could be said to be a Love Charm. Zinder Crosses in particular, are seen mostly worn by women, strung around the neck on cord, or worn in the hair as ornaments.