Antique Kota Manilla Currency/Slave Bracelet, West Africa (3166YLR) $115

$115.00

H: 2.875”  W: 3.25”  Thickness: 1.5” | FREE SHIPPING!

This antique manilla is made by the Kota in the northeastern region of Gabon and Congo. A thin widecircular bracelet with an elaborate five-section design, each section has unique designs with long striations, grooved crosshatches, long triangles and angled designs. In very good condition with minor losses, pitting and scratches, its rough surface inside is consistent with its age and use and comes with a wood and metal stand.

 

Description

The Kota are a fairly small tribe in Gabon, Africa numbering 75,000 and has strong ties to France. African metalwork bracelets, which became known as manillas, traditionally were African art locally made in Kota and used as a form of currency by peoples from West Africa as a medium of exchange to trade or barter, purchase land, livestock, or other goods and services; pay for significant life events such as births, coming of age, marriages, and burials; and display their status or social position. Each region fabricated its own African jewelry varieties and styles of metalwork manillas that were typically horseshoe-shaped were often decorated with incised designs and added pieces of metal in various shapes to the body or at open ends. Ranging in size from thin delicate shapes like this to heavy massive pieces, designs included deeply carved lines forming parallel ridges, stamped or incised geometric forms and other motifs.  In the 15th century, recognizing the importance of copper bracelets and leg bands as displays of wealth and as currency in West Africa, European merchants from England, Portugal, France and Holland fabricated manillas to use as slave trade currency and they were called slave bracelets. Manilla production decreased in the 19th century as the slave trade diminished. In 1948, England, the largest producer of manillas, collected, confiscated and melted down African manillas into reusable matals.

Click here for Blog Manillas: Former African Trade Currency.

Additional information

Place of Origin

Africa

Period

Antique (1200-1920)

Date

18-19th Century

Materials and Technique

Bronze/brass/copper alloy

Dimensions (inches)

H: 2.875" W: 3.25" Thick: 1.5"

Dimensions (metric)

H: 6.99 cm W: 8.25 cm

Weight

7.2 oz

Condition

Very good, see description

Reference Number

3166-YLR