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African art > Coins in bronze, black iron and other materials > Wangata Currency

Currency Ngata Ikakalaka (N° 21805)

This metal object, somewhat reminiscent of a sword, served as currency among the Ngata or Wangata of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Ngata also had, at the beginning of the 20th century, copper bracelets which were used as currency in the Mongo groups.
In Africa, before the colonial period, payments were never made in coins. Transactions were carried out 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 parade objects or throwing weapons. In Sierra Leone, goods were valued against iron bars called barriferri. The king generally controlled the production or delivery of the kingdom's currency. The variety of these metallic forms is wide, and they sometimes take on the appearance of particularly aesthetic non-figurative sculptures.
Ref. : "The perfect form" R. Ballarini.  

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Originex-collection française
EthnyNgata
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood, metal
Height72
Width14
Weight1.89 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle includedYes

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