The unusual forms and sizes of ethnographic currencies are both fascinating and surprising! They range in size from the smallest personal adornments such as beads, shells and jewelry, to massive iron forms weighing as much as 100 pounds. These "primitive" monies were both aesthetic and functional as they were creative symbols of wealth and power and functionally used a means of exchange. In terms of exchange, these currencies were used to purchase everyday items such as food, cloth, tools and used to purchase major life transactions - the obtaining of land, livestock and brides.
Check out our African Weapons for additional currency pieces.
To view a clip from the documentary featuring Africa and Beyond's 2011 currency exhibit, 'The Art of Money,' hosted by the president of South Africa's daughter Gugulethu Zuma-Ncube, CLICK HERE or watch below: