|Kongo, Batetela Tribe, Musanga Shell Disc Money
Traditional African money is often made of shells. This one consists of the shell of a land snail living in the Congo. The shells are broken into more or less equal-sized pieces, pierced and strung together. The strings, called musanga, cannot be used as adornment because of the sharp edges and s...
|Congo, Ngelima People, Spiral Currency
Such spiral copper bars are used as means of payment in some regions o Zaire in Central Africa. They serve as ceremonial money, for bride price or for payments at court cases. There are two different varieties that are in use in different regions of the Congo. One type is flattened on the one end...
|Congo, Mbole or Ngelima People, Brass Bar
This ring bar money developed from arm or legbands. On account of its form and weight, it is no longer wearable as jewelry, however. It was used as money for its metal value. Such brass bars were used as means of payment in many parts of Africa until the mid-20th century. This piece originates fr...
|Congo, Mbole People, Dot (Bronze Bar)
Metals are especially frequent among the many materials used to produce traditional currencies. Besides their value as money, they have a value as objects of utility. And they can be brought into diverse shapes. The scopes for designs on the one hand allow identification, and on the other hand an...
|Sudan/Congo, Mangbetu People, Trombash (Throwing- and Sickle Knife)
This knife money has a long history and a wide geographical distribution. It was initially used in the region of modern Sudan. Today it is commonly called trombash, even though this was only one of its names (others were dadjata, dagata or shongo).
Trombash was originally used as a throwi...
|Congo, Ngbaka People, Bangala Spearhead Money, until 1900
This is bangala iron money. It is also known as "mbili Ngbaka," as "money of the Ngbaka." It is unclear whether it developed from a hoe of a spear. A typical feature of bangala is the little pellet-like buckle at the top and the two small wings on the side that are at an angle of 90 degrees to th...
|Congo, Region between the Rivers Lomami and Congo, Liganda (Large Spearhead), until 1920s
This oversize spearhead is totally useless as a weapon, of course. It appears in sizes from 40 to 200 centimeters; ours measures 168 centimeters. The material is soft and thin. Only a cast middle ridge gives the blade some stability.
Such spearheads are called liganda and produced by the ...
|Congo, Nkutsbu and Ndengese Tribes, Boloko (Copper Bar)
Bolokos are U-shaped copper bars with saucer-shaped feet. They were produced by the Nkutsbu people in Congo and circulated as money among them and their neighboring tribes.
Bolokos were mainly used to buy living creatures. One boloko had about the same value as a male goat. As bride price...