This is a very large type of brass manilla, made in Africa for use as a form of wealth and in funeral ceremonies. Manillas became a form of currency in West Africa from the 16th century to the 1930s, and Europeans traded them for slaves. They were manufactured in European foundries, based on African designs, or the metal exported was used for casting in Africa itself. Decorative manillas were worn as ornamentation.
Until recently, many commentators on Africa claimed that African societies had no tradition of writing. Read more...