Katanga Cross, D. R. Congo.
The sand-cast Katanga cross, also called a handa, is a scarce and unusual piece of primitive money originating from Katanga; a rich copper mining region in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) along the Kasai River. The Katanga cross was used to trade for goods and even for brides during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Since they have been found in burial sites, they have also been associated with funerary rituals. The Congolese regarded the non-ferrous metals copper, lead, and tin as very precious materials.
To give an indication of their commercial value: one cross might purchase five to six chickens, two lengths of good fabric, eight to nine pounds of rubber, or six axes. 3 pieces would buy a goat; 3-5 pieces would buy a male slave and 5-10 a female slave.
Height: 16,5 cm - 6.5 inch. Wide: 13,5 cm - 5.4 inch. Weight: 562 grams.