MSSU African Art Exibit : The MSSU African Art collection features a variety of authentic works of art from various tribes located throughout Central Africa. The objects in the collection range from mundane day to day grooming tools to ritualistic masks and statues.
Legal Tender
Object Name:
Legal Tender, Iron
Other Name:
Place of Origin:
Kissi, Liberia, Africa
Aboriginal Indigenous Art.
L = 12—1/2" to 17—3/4"

Kissi Money was used in the west African region that is now the nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. These twisted iron bars had a “T” shape at one end and a hoe—like spatula shape at the other. The length varied from 9 to 15 inches, depending on the value.

If an iron rod would accidentally break, it could no longer circulate and its value could only be restored in a special ceremony performed by the Zoe, the traditional witchdoctor – often the blacksmith – who, for a fee, would rejoin the broken pieces and reincarnate the escaped soul. Therefore, it was said that Kissi money was ‘money with a soul’.

Kissi money was gradually replaced by western currencies in the 20th century, and is now used only for ritual ceremonies, sacrifices, and to decorate graves.
13 long thin pieces of twisted and shaped iron. Forming a pointed T—like shape on one side and pounded flat on the opposite side. Varying in lengths and slightly rusted.
Marianne Keown Collection
Domestic Use
Metal Works
Art Department, Missouri Southern State University
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