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Armlet
Date: 18th-19th century
Medium: Copper alloy
Dimensions: H x W x D: 17.8 x 12.7 x 23.7 cm (7 x 5 x 9 5/16 in.)
Credit Line: Gift of Tom Joyce and museum purchase with funds donated by Carl Jennings
Geography: Nigeria
Object Number: 2002-10-22
Search Terms:
Currency
Trade
Exhibited: Visionary: Viewpoints on Africa's Arts

While objects such as bracelets, armlets, collars, earrings and anklets crafted from copper, gold and silver were used as jewelry, in some cases they also served as currency. These pieces of jewelry were not widely circulated and were never used in connection with routine transactions. Instead, they served as repositories of wealth in a form that was easy to store and transport.

Coiled copper alloy armlet with ends terminating in faceted, bell-shaped finials wtih chiseled and punched designs. The prepared stock was forged into a hexagonal shape before coiling around a cylindrical form. The armlet has smoked patination.

Tom Joyce, Santa Fe, 1986 to 2002


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


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