Tribal art > Usual african items > Tikar Currency
Tikar primitive currency (N° 13577)
Ex Dutch tribal art collection.
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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 children and the notables. The notables constitute the hierarchy of the chiefdom.
These black iron blades were used as currency but also for offerings, wedding dowries and for major festive and ceremonial occasions.
"Before the colonial era, payments in Africa were never made with coins. Transactions were made by means of products considered precious, because they were rare, useful, or desirable: livestock, pieces of cloth, beads, cowries, salt, kola nuts, and especially metals....But it was especially iron that attracted attention. It quickly became the unit of measurement against which all other commodities were valued." Laure Adler
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