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Pair of Massive Solid Copper Zarma Currency Bracelets

Zarma (Djerma) People, Niger
19th or 20th century

approximate outer diameter of each: 13.9cm, combined weight: 3,576g



UK art market

This very heavy pair of bracelets have been fashioned from two solid copper bars that have been twisted and etched with linear motifs. The ends terminate with octagonal finals.

These were worn as bracelets and not anklets by women of the Zarma people (also known as the Djerma) of Niger. The bracelets were so heavy (this pair weights more than 3.5 kilograms) and difficult to wear that the women sometimes had to have the assistance of the metal smith to put them on.

Apart from being decorative, the bracelets were used as a form of currency and as a store of wealth. They were used to transact marriages and other commercial exchanges.

The pair here are sculptural and have tremendous presence. They also have a fine patina from age. They are in fine condition.


Bartolomucci, A., African Currency, Editore Africa Art Gallery, 2012.

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