Today we are truly excited to offer for sale an unique and beautiful antique Nigerian Yoruba bronze currency torque ring. This piece is huge and heavy (almost 20 lbs of bronze without stand)! Heavy castings like this one were used as currency in West Africa/Nigeria by the Yoruba peoples prior to the introduction of coinage. Also worn by women in certain ritual dances, torques are considered “stored wealth” because they are composed of the metal from numerous manillas (open bracelets that serves as another form of pre-coinage currency). Individuals took their amassed manillas to blacksmiths to be melted down and recast into the much larger torques. Manillas, which were introduced by foreign merchants, circulated in West Africa from the 15th to the early 20th century. Royal brasscasters in the Benin kingdom in present-day Nigeria melted down manillas obtained from the Portuguese and recast them as plaques. This torque-type ring/necklace has a heavily patinated surface and is beautifully decorated with numerous geometric designs. The top features a large ball finial encrusted in geometric designs. This gorgeous example is mounted on a massive solid steel and very heavy-duty custom made museum mount of the highest quality. The torque measures 17 3/8″ in width, 23″ in height, and 5″ in depth, the weight is hefty 19lbs 5 oz. With the stand the torque measures 23 3/4″ in height and weighs 22 lbs 4oz. In very good antique condition, with warm, time-earned patina. Custom solid steel museum stand in very good unblemished condition. From the well-curated collection of a local college anthro professor (we are located less than 10 minutes from Brown University). This was the largest and most important piece in his collection. Fresh to the market! A special find indeed that will make a major statement wherever it’s placed.
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