Requires Photography

Currency

African, Chamba peoples, Nigeria
mid 20th century


Dimensions

Overall: 36.8 x 2.5 x 29.2 cm (14 1/2 x 1 x 11 1/2 in.)

Accession Number

2009.5349

Medium or Technique

Iron

Not On View

Collections

Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

Classifications

Numismatics

This type of currency is now known as snake currency, and was used by the Chamba peoples of Nigeria. It was probably used in major transactions such as a groom paying bridewealth to the family of his bride. Iron currency occured in many regions throughout Africa. Expert smiths could melt and forge it into different tools that were necessary in day to day life, making it a preferred and useful standard of value.

Provenance

Between the 1980s and 1990s, acquired in Paris by anonymous donors; 2009, anonymous gift to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 20, 2010)

Credit Line

Anonymous gift