Showcasing the art and ritual of the African and African-diaspora religions

Topoke spearhead bridal currency

Catalog Number: E005


152.0 x 25.0 x 2.0 cm


Country of Origin: Democratic Republic of Congo
Ethnographic Origin: Topeke (West-Central Africa)
Materials: Iron
Usage: N/A
Detailed Description of Significance:

Often more than two meters tall, spearheads such as this (ndoaliganda, or ngbele)  once acted as a form of currency among the Topoke, or Poke, people of what is today the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The object is made from two sheets of iron hammered and forged into one. The smith then carved an incision along the edges of the blade. The projection at the bottom of the spearhead was for a wooden shaft to be inserted so that the whole object could be driven into the ground when not being transported. The size of the spearheads meant that they were difficult to carry, a characteristic that only enhanced their status as prestigious and valuable possessions.