Heart-shaped pendants, known as tchor, may be a variation on the kostine, a large central pendant that to some degree resembles a flower basket. Tchor, derived from the French word ille for heart, has been a favorite design throughout the 20th century. With its central rosette, zigzag filigree, and hollow core—all Senegalese aesthetic techniques—in the shape of a French-inspired heart, this necklace visually represents Senegal’s multiple coexisting, and sometimes conflicting, histories.
Gold alloy heart shaped pendant necklace on a manufactured chain with springring clasp. The heart pendant is hollow and decorated with a central tiered rosette surrounded by four smaller rosettes, with openwork petals, surmounted by an applied globule. All are encircled with a geometric filigree and a knotted wire design. Small trefoil adorns the bottom of the heart. The back of the pendant is a hammered flat sheet of metal, with hooks visible from attaching the decorative elements.
Marian Johnson, purchased in Dakar, Senegal, 1963-late 20th century to 2012
Good As Gold: Fashioning Senegalese Women, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., October 24, 2018-February 2, 2020; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, April 4-July 5, 2020
Maples, Amanda, Ashby Johnson, Marian, and Dumouchelle, Kevin D., 2018, Good As Gold, Washington, D.C.: NMAfA, Smithsonian, p. 64, illustrated p. 3, p. 66
Gift of Dr. Marian Ashby Johnson
Early to mid-20th century
H x W x D: 5.3 x 4.8 x 1.8 cm (2 1/16 x 1 7/8 x 3/4 in.) Chain : 66.7 cm (26 1/4 in.)