African art > Coins in bronze, black iron and other materials > Currency/Glaive Chamba
Currency/Glaive Chamba (N° 22585)
Ex-French African art collection.
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Two spirals on either side of a point form the handle of this weapon of Chamba origin, in Nigeria, with a triangular blade.
Grainy oxidized patina.
Installed since the 17th century on the south bank of the Benue in Nigeria, the Chamba have resisted the attempts of conquest by the Fulani, nomads who have settled in large numbers in northern Nigeria.
In Africa, before the colonial period, payments were never made in coins. Transactions were made using cowries, pearls, cattle, kola nuts, but also metals, especially iron. These primitive currencies were used during commercial and social exchanges, for dowries in particular, but could also constitute objects of parade or throwing weapons. The variety of these metallic forms is wide, and these sometimes take on the appearance of particularly aesthetic non-figurative sculptures.
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