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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Currency


When I was researching on Pinterest for my last show - Out of Africa - I found lots of photos of African jewellery, masks, and headdresses using cowrie shells.

The cowrie shell was one of the most successful and universal forms of currency in the world, but in West Africa it worked its way into the cultural fibre, taking on a deeper spiritual and ritualistic  meaning that has never been entirely lost. They were phased out (reluctantly, by the African people who were resistant to the imposition of colonialism ) in favour of the French franc in the 1940s. But traces still remain - in Burkhina Faso, alms are given to the poor in the form of cowries, and some ritual services still use them. The West African Central Bank headquarters in Benin is decorated with cowrie shells. Fascinating stuff.



For todays post I remade one of my favourite pairs from the show with variations - using cowrie shells, leopardskin jasper, oxblood lampwork rings from  Julia Hay and warm coloured glass beads wired to beaten brass domed connectors, with hand made brass earwires. The cowrie shells are from Sylvia Stungo of Fizzyelements. Very dangly, very African.

 


    Hope you like them - available in my Etsy shop, if you do. See you in two weeks time.

                                                              Lindsay xx

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12 comments:

  1. These are wonderful mrs,and I love the info too xx

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  2. Fascinating read! And these are wonderful as always Lindsay.

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  3. How interesting! The earrings are fab as usual too x

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  4. Love cowrie shells! Fabulous earrings... love learning new things xo

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  5. Fabulous! And a fascinating read too!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Sue. I like to do a bit of googling before shows! Amazing what you dont know.

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