347. A Colossal Copper Anklet

Mbole tribe, Central Congo, 19th century
Size: 24 cm
Weight: 1.8 kg

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Copper was wealth in the Congo in the 19th century, and wives of the important Mbole chieftains wore these enormous anklets. This example is particularly fine. The benefits of such accessories were several: the chieftain could keep an eye on his bank-balance as it followed him around; his bank-balance displayed in public enhanced his prestige; and the wife who wore it couldn’t easily run away.