Antique Fulani Manilla Currency/Slave Bracelet, West Africa (3165WHM)


H: 3.125”  W: 3.5”  Thickness: 1” | FREE SHIPPING!

The Fulani people favored many kinds of body ornaments, among the most traditional being bracelets and anklets in a horseshoe shape with flared decorative ends.  This finely-crafted, heavy and massive antique U-shaped example was elaborately designed with intertwined twisted strands and 11 faceted ends incised with circle and diamond designs.


The Fulani, the most numerous nomadic people on earth and one of the largest ethnic groups in West-Africa, are mostly Muslim nomads and sedentary farmers. For centuries the Fulani, like most African peoples created metalwork arm and ankle bracelets that were symbols of wealth and status, fashion adornments and used ceremonially for births, coming of age, marriages and burials or for trade for animals and domestic and agricultural goods. African-jewelry and African-metalwok was ideal currency that was wearable, easily portable and readily available for purchases, especially for nomadic people where there were no conventional currency exchange systems. During the colonization of Africa in the 1500s the British, French and Dutch appropriated these bracelets and manufactured their own versions called manillas. Once a beautiful indigenous form of currency, adornment and African-artfor and by African peoples, manillas became currency for the slave trade referred to as “slave bracelets,” “slave trade money” and “bracelet money” to purchase slaves to work on plantations in the Americas. Slave bracelets were prohibited for use by foreign traders under the Manilla Currency Ordinance of 1919 but continued to be used by the West African Currency Board for several decades. In the 1940s and 50s, manillas were collected, confiscated and melted down to use for other purposes. Manillas are still worn by slave descendants in the Caribbean as a significant family treasure to pass on to future generations. This one is in excellent condition, has a fine patina with minor pitting and scrapes consistent with its age and use and comes with a wood and metal stand.

Additional information

Place of Origin

Africa, West Africa


Antique (1200-1920)


19th Century

Materials and Technique

Bronze/brass/copper alloy

Dimensions (inches)

H: 3.125” W: 3.5" Thick: 1” Circum: 8.25”

Dimensions (metric)

H: 7.92 cm W: 8.94 cm Thick: 2.54 cm Circum: 20.95 cm


1 lb 5 0z


Excellent, fine patina demonstrating age and use

Reference Number


Shipping Box Size