African art > African Currencies > African currency

Small currency Songye Kabengele (N° 14791)

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 come from parade objects or throw weapons. In Sierra Leone, goods were valued against iron bars named 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 sculpture. This miniature hoe named Kabengele (pl. Tubengele) was used as a primitive currency by the Basonge , a subgroup Songye , during transactions: four of them traded for a goat, noted the ethnologist Emil Torday at the beginning of the 20th century during his expedition to Congo. Some rounded up the batch of magical accessories that included Songye fetishes.
Heterogeneous grainy surface. The Perfect Form" R. Ballarini  

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Originex-collection belge
Countryrdc ex zaire
Weight0.23 Kg
Estimated dating2ème halfxx°
Socle includedYes

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