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Mumuye Flower Currency

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Item 856
10.00 LBS

Product Description

Throughout history, many different objects have been used to facilitate trade for goods and to measure wealth. In Africa salt, shells, beads, metal, indigenous coins, European coins, jewelry, woven cloth, weapons and tools have served as currency. The keys to understanding why a particular object came to be used as currency are acceptability and value. Acceptability encompasses such aspects as familiarity, usefulness and artistic expression, which add to the intrinsic value of the medium itself. Thus, while the scarcity of copper might have caused it to be exchanged on that basis alone, its use was further validated through the forms into which it was cast. Iron was more ubiquitous in African societies, but refining, forging, forming and decorating similarly increased its value. Iron Currencies were used for finalizing deals between tribes and between individuals. They could be also used to buy animals, consumer goods or use as dowry to a marriage. The Mumuye people reside in the northeastern region of Nigeria. Due to the difficulty of access to their land of rocky hills and savannas, the Mumuye remained in near total isolation until 1959. It is known that they have placed great value to iron and have fashioned currency amounts in that metal. Their trademark is the Mumuye 'Currency Flower' piece. This is forged of iron and composed of an iron spike that splits into 'branches', each of which resembles a snake. When mounted this curious configuration of spiraling serpents provides us with yet another fascinating Africa antiquity.

Please click photo for enlargement!


Dimensions: The metal base is 4 x 4 inches. When the structure is placed on the base it stands 20 inches tall x 4 inches wide. 

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