Money cowries, a transoceanic heritage – part 4
In West Africa money cowries were a kind of currency, but they also served as a material in creative works.
People made many kinds of objects from cowries, including clothing, figures and containers. Cowries had a complex symbolism that came partly from their link to sea-borne trade and from their evocative form, often linked to fertility.
This basket-and-cowrie container in the KwaZulu-Natal Museum collection comes from the Zaria region of northern Nigeria, where a Fulani artist made it more than 100 years ago. It incorporates about 500 cowries!
https://static.xx.fbcdn.net/images/emoji.php/v9/tde/1/16/1f4f8.png"); background-size: 16px 16px; height: 16px; width: 16px;">📸A basket-and-cowrie container attributed to a Fulani artist, in the KwaZulu-Natal museum collections. Photo: Justine Wintjes (2020).
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