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Africa Direct

3 Kissi Pennies Currency Wedding Money African Art

AvailabilityIn stock
Special Price $10.00 Regular Price $15.00
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Title 3 Kissi Pennies Currency Wedding Money African Art
Type of Object Metal currency
Country of Origin Western Guinea and Sierra Leone
People Kissi
Materials Metal
Approximate Age Late 19th century to early 20th century
Height (in) 24
Width (in) 18
Depth (in) 18
Dimensions 8-12 inches long
Overall Condition Poor
Damage/Repair Rusted and chipped

This listing is for 3 Kissi pennies, approximately 8-12 inches each.

The Kissi of Western Guinea and Sierra Leone used these strangely shaped metal pieces as currency for more than a hundred years. (Kissi and Toma peoples; Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, West Africa). Apparently, the shape came about at least in part because it was virtually impossible to "shave" or alter the amount of metal in them without the tampering becoming immediately obvious. Larger "denominations" were made by twisting several pieces together and securing with leather strips. If one of them became legitimately broken, its value could only be restored in a special ceremony conducted by a shaman. Therefore, it was said to have a "soul." "In earlier times, marriages among the Gbande were confirmed with a Kissi penny. Once part of the bride price had been paid, the groom placed a kissi penny on his bride's head and said "THIS IS MY WIFE." See them in Schaedler's EARTH AND ORE-25000 YEARS OF AFRICAN ART IN TERRA COTTA AND METAL.