TERA Gallery - African Art and Antiquities

"Altering The Way You View The World Of Art"
CURRENCY
Though no longer used, these sculpted shaping of functional forms represent the
blending of art and commerce in a simple and abstracted shape.

Throughout Africa metal currency is a tangible manifestation of economic power,
valued materially and held great symbolic and ritual meaning. Iron forged into different
patterns was used by the different tribes as exchanged and accepted currency.  Beaten
into shapes that were common to their life experience, the hoe was a prominent form.
The worked hoe form could be further forged into something else such as an axe or
knife.  

The blacksmith who forged the iron was both held in technical awe and feared as he
made iron with fire after converting the ore into iron and then shaping it into functional
forms. He was thus someone who manipulated the forces of nature through ritual, skill
and secret knowledge.