The institution of bridewealth exists throughout Africa, having counterparts in the custom of the European dowry and, to a lesser extent, in prenuptial agreements. The institution does not refer to purchasing a wife, but to compensating the bride's family for the loss of its daughter's services, which will now benefit her new family. The typical scenario requires the groom, or the family of the groom, to provide gifts, or bride price, to the family of the bride. Many objects were acceptable as bridewealth, but among the most striking were the enormous iron blades of the Turumbu peoples. These spear blades span up to five feet long and typically weigh as much as four and a half pounds. The size of the blade determined its relative value. The blades served as a measure of wealth and were usually not converted into more utilitarian objects. If the marriage failed, the groom's family would attempt to reclaim the bridewealth.