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Bar currency
Date: 20th century
Medium: Iron
Dimensions: H x W x D: 41.6 x 4.1 x 1.8 cm (16 3/8 x 1 5/8 x 11/16 in.)
Credit Line: Gift of Flora Edouwaye S. Kaplan
Geography: Nigeria
Object Number: 2008-9-2
Search Terms:
Exhibited: Visionary: Viewpoints on Africa's Arts

In areas of central Africa unadorned copper and iron rods, wires, bars and blades served as currency. Instead of being valued according to weight, these currencies were priced by length. Bars of iron such as this one were used as currency particularly in parts of Nigeria where blacksmiths were in need of ore for smelting. This ingot was a gift to the donor in 1988 from the Emir of Zing, Adamawa State, Nigeria.

Iron currency ingot with ovoid center and with extended tapered ends.

Emir of Zing, Adamawa State, Nigeria, -- to 1988

Flora Edouwaye S. Kaplan, New York, 1988 to 2008

Visionary: Viewpoints on Africa's Arts, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., November 4, 2017-ongoing

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