Thursday, 31 May 2018

Object Assessment of J.0097: copper alloy pin from Igbo, Nigeria





The object J.0097 is a copper alloy pin with a length of approximately 90 mm, bent by a whole copper alloy strip from the middle into a U shape with the width of approximately 35 mm, which has an oval curvature and two parallel branches with the width of approximately 15 mm. The cross section of the strip is generally a 3 mm*4 mm rectangle, and it is not completely straight. The tips of the two branches used to be sharpened. There are curves on one of the branches. With an uneven layer of corrosion, it has a rough surface covered by metal oxides, which give the surface a green and brown appearance. From the places that are not covered by metal oxides, it can be seen that the metal inside has a dark grey colour. There is a group of number 328 197 written by ink on one of the branches of the object and is partly covered by a thin layer of transparent resin as protection. There is no decoration on the object. Nor does it contain other kinds of materials.



It is made by brass produced in local area. The construction of the object is simple and clear. It is complete and generally in good condition. The resin might be possible to fall off from the surface. The metal oxides layer acts as a protection for the inner metal, while there is abrasion on the edges of the object. The manufacture of the object involves casting, bending, hammering and quenching.  







By comparing with similar objects from the same region, it can be demonstrated that the object is a kind of general equivalent which can be used as both sacrifice and currency by the Aro people during the past centuries. The functions as religious offering and currency demonstrate rarity of the object, making it still have a high value in academic studies as well as in museum collections, because it is a precious sample for the researches about the culture, religion, and the metalworking manufacture of the Aro people in Nigeria. Moreover, it is also an evidence of the slave trade. As a witness of slavery supported by indigenous Nigerian people, it is not only a significant evidence of the Aro people and the Nigerian history, but also an alert to the future and to the entire world. 

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