These distinctive crosses are a true work of art and identified as such by the signature of the craftsman on the back of the piece. Written in Tomasheck or Arabic script, there are many different crosses such as these throughout Africa. One estimate is that there are different patterns of crosses in existence.
The different crosses come from different towns; and identify where people come from. They relate back to ancient times before Islam; when tribes were heavily influenced by Christianity. The cross may be the same symbol as in Christianity. It also has been known to symbolize the four corners of the world.
Originally, crosses were passed down from father to son. The father would say to the son: “My son, I give you the four corners of the world, because one can not know where one will die”. The cross is often given as a gift among African people, and they will say to the receiver “No matter where you go God and I shall always be with you and protect you”. Many Tuareg people in Africa believe that the arms of the cross will disperse all evil from the individual, thus keeping him out of harms way.
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