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Manilla 2000.06.0001 3D Model
This brass “manilla” is a horseshoe-like, cast-brass crescent with flared ends, and it was used as a medium of exchange in areas of Africa. Manillas were designed to imitate traditional African copper trade-bracelets, and they were carried to West Africa by Portuguese traders as early as the mid-1400’s. Europeans used them to buy West African commodities such as elephant tusks, gold, pepper, and, of course, captive people. In Africa, manillas were used as raw material and turned into things that best suited peoples’ needs there. Even though the transatlantic slave trade ended in the early part of the 1800’s, manillas continued to be exported in vast quantities, even into the 1900’s, to trade for African palm oil. England eventually became a leading center of production for the simple metal pieces, and the city of Birmingham was the focal point of the industry and home to several manilla makers. It is likely that this piece was made there. It is 6.7 centimeters tall, 6.2 cm wide, and it weighs 77 grams.