Nose Ring for Cows
Soekotture is the term for the wooden ring attached to the nose of a cow, also used as a sorcery tool for keeping out evil spirits.
These nose rings are made with tree branches between 2 and 3 centimeters thick, the bark stripped and fastened with rope to be shaped into a ring.
Cows are big, powerful animals, but once the nose ring is attached, the pain confines them to a life that is constrained by humans. The nose ring, therefore, was a symbolic tool that connotes eternal confinement, and therefore greatly feared. A nose ring that had been on a cow for a long time was believed to possess significant sorcery power, and was hung on the gate or inside the home to prevent the possible invasion of evil spirits and ghosts.
It was also believed that nose rings had the power to confine and hold on to good fortune or material goods that the family has acquired, and were hung over gates or doors on New Year to keep out bad forces and invite in the good.
In many regions, the practice of using nose rings as sorcery charms are observed: When an owner is having a hard time selling a house, a nose ring is hung on the gate; hanging a nose ring in a store helps business; and when someone in the family is ill, a cow’s nose ring or branches from prickly castor-oil tree (eomnamu) are hung on the gate to pray for healing.