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Tribal art - African Currencies:

Primitive currencies in African art have always fascinated many renowned scholars. The large size of these objects surprises as it seems that it can hardly be transported. They may, besides the currency, be used as ornament in the form of bracelets, rings, necklaces.

Zande Vungara Jet Knife
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Tribal art > African Currencies > Zande Arms

Ex-collection Belgian African art.
This knife with double-edged blades is fitted with a handle sheathed with animal fur, more precisely. A weapon of combat and prestige, it could also form an accessory appreciated during danced ritual ceremonies.
odies referred to as Niam-Niam because they are considered anthropophages, the tribes grouped under the name Zande, Azandé, settled from Chad on the border of the R.D.C. (Zaire), Sudan and the Central African Republic. According to their beliefs, man is endowed with two souls, one of whom turns into a totem animal of the clan to which he belongs. The African tribal art of the Zande, or those who own a lot of land, apart from their court art consisting of spoons, receptable pipes and harps, counts two types of statues: The Kudu statues ...

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Angas Iron Mint / Afo
Tribal art > African Currencies > Angas Currency

These primitive large hoe-shaped coins, large in size, were used for offerings, wedding dowry and of course for major festive and ceremonial occasions. The tribes Angas of the Jos Plateau in northern Nigeria offered such objects as a dowry to the father of the bride-to-be. These pieces also had a ceremonial function during the celebration of the union. Some, however, attribute these special-shaped coins to the Afos, a neighbouring tribe established below the Jos Plateau. The Afos speak a Bené-Congolese language: eyoli.
Two parts stand out, a narrow handle and the lower rectangular part of the shovel shape, which is also found in the Mambilas.
The oxidation of the old iron offers an inimitable patina.

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Kongo Primitive Currency
Tribal art > African Currencies > Kongo Mint

This piece of exceptional magnitude is reminiscent of throw knives in its shape, but the large ring attached to it forms a rare association. By its volume and weight, it is therefore a prestigious coin of great monetary value for the groups that have forged it and therefore intended for major exchanges. Decorated with thin hatches and small circles regularly engraved on the surface, it also offers a thick handle surrounded by a metal spiral like a rope. Before the arrival of the Europeans, the 'copper bars' (often composed of a spiral-shaped copper and zinc alloy) formed the only currency in Central Africa. These volutes, depending on the region, were named mitako or ngelo .

The final aesthetic aspect of this coin dictated our choice for this particular arrangement on its ...

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Tikar primitive currency
Tribal art > Usual african items > Tikar Currency

Ex Dutch tribal art collection.
This time in the form of a circular tray with a long handle, this African coin would be associated with the prestige of Tikar chiefs. The handle is decorated with scrolls and spiral metal strips, the patina having adopted a beige tone shaded with rust oxidation. The Tikar inhabit the western part of central Cameroon which is located within the dense secondary mid-altitude forest along the Mbam. Within this ecotone, the "Tikar plain" (named after its occupants) constitutes a depression that backs up respectively to the west and north to the Mbam massif (and its Mapé and Kim tributaries) and the first foothills of the Adamaoua plateau. The structure of the kingdom consists of a large chiefdom subdivided into quarters: the residences of the queens, the ...

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