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

Katanga Handa Croisette (N° 14458)

The first coins Handa , also named Lukanu, or copper crucifixes, The Katanga , or cross of Saint Andrew , appear in the 13th century in tombs throughout the Shaba region, at the same time as the cainis and p glass paste, also used as a means of payment. Although associated with funeral rituals, during the 18th and 19th centuries, they were the tax that copper-producing regions owed to the Lunda Empire, a territory covering Katanga, northern Zambia and eastern Angola. Arab merchants also used it in trade routes stretching from Kenya to eastern Angola. Hungarian ethnologist Torday found that 3 to 5 of these crucifixes ranging from 0.275 to 2 kg were needed to acquire a male slave and 5 to 10 for a woman.
They were used until the 1920s when they were used to obtain poultry, cloths, rubber or iron tools or the payment of dowry.

Besides the use of money, the crucifixes also served as an emblem of prestige and power, their forms varying according to the chiefdoms .
Uneven burgundy red surface pigmented with kaolin flakes. Single croisette: 1,100 kg.
Ref.: "The Perfect Form" R.Ballarini; "Currencies and means of exchange" J. Rivallain (History and Archaeology Files)  

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OriginCollection J. Putteneers
Weight1.67 Kg
Estimated datingdébut xxe
Socle includedYes

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