African art > Coins in bronze, black iron and other materials > Luba Currency
Currency croisette of Katanga (N° 21271)
The first Handa coins, also known as Lukanu , or copper crosses, Katanga crosses , or St. Andrew's crosses , appeared in tombs throughout the Shaba region in the 13th century, at the same time as cowrie shells and glass paste beads, which were also used as a means of payment. Although associated with funerary rituals, during the 18th and 19th centuries they were the tax owed by copper-producing areas to the Lunda empire, a territory covering Katanga, northern Zambia and eastern Angola. Arab traders also used them in trade routes from Kenya to eastern Angola. The Hungarian ethnologist Torday found that among the Tetela, 3 to 5 of these braces ranging from 0.275 to 2 kg were needed to acquire a male slave and 5 to 10 for a female.
They were used until the 1920's when they were used to buy poultry, cloth, rubber or iron tools or to pay the dowry.
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