Manilla

West African
20th century
Artist Unidentified


Object Place: Africa

Dimensions

Overall: 7.6 x 8.3 cm (3 x 3 1/4 in.)

Accession Number

2009.5113

Medium or Technique

Brass

Not On View

Collections

Africa and Oceania

Classifications

Numismatics

Manillas, a traditional currency in Western Africa, were originally metal bracelets or armlets. Later forms were copper, bronze, or brass open rings (penannular or almost ring-like), often horse-shoe shaped with enlarged finials. The term manilla comes from “manella”, Spanish for bracelet, indicating that the earliest such pieces circulated in the 16th and 17th centuries when seafarers from Europe reached the African coasts. Western currencies replaced manillas by the end of the 19th century.

Provenance

About 1997, sold by Timothy Hamill, Hamill Gallery of African Art, Boston, MA to Alan Helms; 2009, gift of Alan Helms to the MFA. ((Accession date: December 16, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Alan Helms