African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Matakam Currency

Primitive African Currency / Serpe Matakam (N° 13038)

Ex-Italian African art collection.
The Matakam also called Mafa are a population of Central Africa, mainly present in the far north of Cameroon, also in Nigeria.They are known to have been the first in contact with German settlers. Monotheists, they believe a "god of humans" named Jigilé whose spelling can vary. Nevertheless, they remain animistic and therefore make sure to attract and retain the benevolence of the forces of nature. The ancestors being the mediators between the world of the living and Jigilé, the Matakam practice the cult of ancestors. 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 constitute objects of parade or throw weapons. In Sierra Leone, goods were valued against iron bars called 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.  

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EthnyMatakam
Countrycameroun
Material(s)fer noir
Height cm42
Width21 cm
Weight0.35 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle includedYes

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