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Gallery Ezakwantu

African Art  - Art Africain - Tribal Art -  菲洲艺术 - Afrikanische Kunst

 

Central and Southern African Tribal Art

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African Currencies - African Currency

Monnaie Africaine

Afrikanische Vormünzliche Zahlungsmittel
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shoowa Cloth - Kuba Fabrics

 

Velours du Kasai

 

Shoowa Raffia Fabrics

 

 

 

Shoowa embroidery - Zagourski

 

 

Kuba cloth or Kuba shoowa fabric is made by the Shoowa clan of the Kuba and related peoples in the Democratic Republic of the Congo - formerly Zaire. In earlier times, cloths were used as currency or offered as gifts. Value was determined by the complexity of the work undertaken. The fabric was made from a very fine fibre found inside young palm tree leafs. Leafs were dried in the sun, then torn into pieces approximately two mm wide called raffia. The fine leaf fibers were woven on a loom by men, while women were responsible for decorating the resulting fabric with Shoowa design (above).

 

 

The BEST Shoowa EVER!

 

 

 

 

We think the viewer will agree, there is no more extraordinary Shoowa example known then that seen above. Very old small currency pieces, seemingly made by the same weaver, were joined. The image color became somewhat distorted, as it was taken in sections and joined.  

 

 

                

 

                                     Father Michael Perry 2009                      Friar Michael Perry 1983

 

Provenance: This fabric was owned by Father Michael Perry OFM. Friar Michael was a priest stationed in Kolwezi - Zaire (DRC), where he developed a keen interest in the material objects of the tribal people. Later he became Vicar General of the worldwide Order of Friars Minor - Roma.

 

 

 

Click the image above to view a 6.4 megabit image that allows you to zoom into and or save.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Currency Fabrics

 

Kuba? Salampasu? Songye? Madagascar?

 

 

 

Fiber loom - Bakuba - Zagourski

In the Congo - men constructed looms and were given the task of weaving.

 

 

 

Example A / + - 60 x 68 cms

 

This currency fabric came to us in a circa 1900 context. Early related examples are known from the Kuba in the east, westwards to the Songye, including Salampasu and certain Luba groups inbetween.

 

 

 

Example A

 

The size of fiber used in the above (and below) example is exceedingly fine.

 

 

 

Example B / + - 65 x 70 cms

 

Though both examples A and B came to us together and are of equal age, they may have different organs. It was suggested by a textile collector that this example may be from Madagascar, do it's extremely fine weave.

 

 

 

Example B

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Currency Fabric - Congo DRC

 

Mbole - Bambole

 

 

 

Mbole Currency Fabric

 

Woven panels as above date to the first part of the 20th century and are therefore rarely seen. They were traded as currencies with limited distribution. Individual designs are said to have characterized the original owner.
 

 

 

Mbole Currency Fabric /  + - 20 x 40 cms

 

Mbole live on the left bank of the Zaire River, in the heart of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The name Mbole, is derived from their position, meaning "the people from downstream". They migrated to the forest region from north of the Lualaba River during the 18th century. Villages are autonomous, headed by chiefs chosen from the elders of each family. Lilwa (libwe), a graded men's organization, dominates Mbole life. It supervises ritual, educational, judicial, social, political, and economic functions. Boys of seven to twelve years old are isolated in the forest for circumcision and initiation, undergoing ritual purification and proving themselves through ordeals and fasting. The head of the lilwa society, known as Isoya, is so important that he is buried in a tree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Luvale Currency Rope

 

Angola - Western Zambia

 

 

 

Luvale Rope Currency

 

This rope was collected in Western Zambia approximately circa 1990. It was strip-cut from from bark and stored / traded in this form and certainly a currency in the area. The Luvale and other Chokwe related peoples (Mbunda - Lucahazi - Lwena) use the rope to bind with during the construction of their homes, fish traps and packaging.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Trade Beads - Slave Beads

 

 

 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Slave beads (often called Trade beads) were otherwise decorative glass beads used between the 16th and 20th century as a currency to exchange for goods, services and slaves (hence the name). Made to ease the passage of European explorers and then traders mainly across the African continents, the beads were made throughout Europe although the Venetians dominated production. Trade beads are also found in the United States and Canada, and throughout Latin America. The production of slave (trade) beads became so popular that literally tons of these beads were used for this purpose. Beads were used as ballast in slave/trade ships for the outbound trip. The beads and other trade items were exchanged for human cargo as well as ivory, gold and other goods desired in Europe and around the world. The beads traded were not of a set design, but were produced according to demand. Millefiori (thousand flower) beads from Venice, Italy were one of the most commonly traded beads, and are commonly known as "African trade beads." They were produced by creating flowers or stripes from glass canes, that were then cut and molded onto a core of solid color. Beads such as the kiffa beads of Mauritania are thought to have resulted from women creating powdered glass beads to mimic the appearance of millefiori beads.

 

 

 


The success of this form of currency can largely be attributed to the high intrinsic value African people put upon decorative items. Africans often used beads for currency, (often referred to as African money) and wealth storage, and social status could be easily determined by the quality, quantity and style of jewellery worn. This created a high demand for trade beads in Africa.

 

 

 

 

Most of the seven strings of trade beads on offer date to 19th century Venice, though the brass examples with cosmological symbols were made more recently by the Baule of the Ivory coast. Carnelian beads were made in Bohemia, India and the Sahara.

 

 

 

The group of trade beads are offered as "a collection".

 

 

Chevron Necklace

 

 

This rare 4 - 6 layered Chevron necklace of 28 beads has a circumference of 34 centimeters, or + - 13 inches. The largest bead (center) has a 7.5 cm circumference, or + - 3 inches.

 

 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

Chevron Beads are special glass beads, originally made for trade in the New World and the slave trade in Africa by glassmakers in Italy as far back as the early 15th century. They are composed of many consecutive layers of colored glass. The initial core is formed in a star-shaped mold, and can have anywhere between five and fifteen points. The next layer of glass conforms to that star shape. Several layers of glass can be applied (typically four to seven layers), either star-shaped or smooth. After all layers have been applied, the glass is drawn out to the desired thickness and when cooled, cut into short segments showing the resulting star pattern at their ends. The ends can be ground to display the chevron pattern. Chevron beads are traditionally composed of red, blue, and white layers, but modern chevrons can be found in any color combination. Original beads made for trade to the New World and Africa were typically composed of green, white, blue and red layers.

 

Chevron beads are a specific, historically important type of trade bead. Africa was not the only outlet for these beads. As far back as Christopher Columbus' expeditions, these beads were traded to Native Americans for goods and slaves.

 

Chevron beads are very popular collectors' items and they are still highly valued in present day West Africa, where they continue to be worn for prestige and ceremonial purposes, and occasionally buried with the dead.

 

 

Follow this link to learn more about trade beads - slave beads.  
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

Many weapons of the Congo basin were used as currency.  

 

 

 

Weapons - Congo

 

Click this thumb to visit our Congo Weapons Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

Galerie Ezakwantu

Southern African Tribal Art - African Art 

 

Central and Southern African Tribal Art

 

Art Africain              頂级菲洲艺术品中心            Afrikanische Kunst

 

 

 

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African Adornment - African Axes - African Basketry - African Beadwork - African Beer Cups - African Beer Pots - Colonial Figures - African Containers - Contemporary African Art - African Costume - African Currency - African Dolls - African Figures - African Hair Combs - African Headdresses - African Wigs - African Headrests - African Neck Rests - African Masks - Masques Africains - African Meat Platters - African Milk Pails - Miscellaneous Objects African Musical Instruments - African Jewelry - African Jewellery - African Pipes - African Shields - African Snuff  Spoons - African Snuff Bottles - African Spoons - African Ladles - African Staffs - African Status Objects - African Stools - African Thrones - African Tobacco Bags - Central African Weapons - Southern African Weapons - North African Weapons - Other Weapons - Zulu Imbenge Pot Covers

 

 

 

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