Antique Senufo Manilla Currency/Slave Trade Bracelet, West Africa (3143WOE)


H: 3.125”  W: 4”  Thick: 1.125.5” Circum: 9.5” | FREE SHIPPING

This very elaborate and exquisite Senufo heavy brass alloy with a high copper content manilla is ornately embellished and divided into three sections, each decorated with deeply carved geometric panels within horizontal bars across its surface.  In a traditional manner, a pair of raised ball-like pieces of metal frame each section, and the openings of the C-shaped bracelet end in flat round discs. This remarkable and elegant manilla is in excellent condition and has a good patina that shows its age, long use, and wear. It comes with a wood and metal stand.

Click here for the Blog Manillas: Former African Trade Currency.


The Senufo, numbering between 1.5 and 2.7 million people in West-Africa, are primarily agricultural. They live in mud-brick farm houses in large villages and are renown as remarkable musicians and carvers of wood figures and masks. For centuries the Senufo, like most peoples created metalwork African-jewelry in the form of arm and ankle bracelets that were symbols of wealth and status, fashion adornments, used ceremonially for births, coming of age, marriages, and burials, to trade for animals and domestic and agricultural goods and as a medium of exchange where there were no banks or conventional currency exchange systems. During the colonization of Africa in the 1500s. the British, French and Dutch appropriated these bracelets and began to manufacture their own versions they named manillas. Once a beautiful indigenous form of currency and adornment for and by African peoples, manillas became the currency for the slave trade to the Americas and were referred to as “slave bracelets,” “slave trade money” and “bracelet money” to purchase slaves to work on plantations in the Americas. Slave bracelets were finally 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. The 1940s and 50’s witnessed a strong and successful movement to collect, confiscate and meltdown manillas to use for other purposes. Manillas are still worn by slave descendants in the Caribbean as a significant family treasure of African-art and African-metalwork to pass on to future generations.

Click here for the Blog Manillas: Former African Trade Currency.







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: 4" Thick 1.125" Circum: 9.5"

Dimensions (metric)

H: 2.20cm W: 2.82cm Thick: .79cm Circum: 6.7cm



Weight Metric



Excellent, fine patina demonstrating age and use

Reference Number


Shipping Box Size