African, Chamba peoples, Nigeria
mid 20th century
Overall: 36.8 x 2.5 x 29.2 cm (14 1/2 x 1 x 11 1/2 in.)
Medium or Technique
Not On View
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.
Between the 1980s and 1990s, acquired in Paris by anonymous donors; 2009, anonymous gift to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 20, 2010)