African art > Currencies > Dadiya Currency
Currency Dance Stick Dadiya Jen'nyi (N° 13407)
This primitive iron coin whose blade evokes the head and beak of a bird has a handle whose lower end is wrapped in a metal strip ending in a twisted hook. The top is equipped with a small bell. This weapon originated in the Dadiya of northeastern Nigeria, and its use changed over time into a currency of exchange. Small ethnic groups, such as the Tula, Dadiya, Burak and Jen (or Dza) form an Adamawa-speaking people established in the Upper Benue region. The Dadiya produced wrought iron ceremonial weapons, used by young people initiated during the kal ( nyansanye) and dance spoilers named jen'nyi . In Africa, before the colonial period, payments were never made in coins. Transactions were made using cauris, pearls, cattle, kola nuts, but also metals, including iron in particular. These primitive currencies were used in trade, social exchanges, for dowries in particular, but could also constitute objects of parade or throw weapons. In Sierra Leone, goods were valued against iron bars called barriferri. In 1556 in Djenné Jean-Léon the African observed that the people used iron to pay " things of little value". The king generally controlled the production or delivery of the kingdom's currency. The variety of these metallic forms is wide, and these sometimes take on the appearance of particularly aesthetic non-figurative sculptures. Source: "Art of the Upper Benue River" C. Evers.
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