Katanga Cross (‘handa’), Zaïre (DR Congo)
18 x 18 cm, (7,1″ x 7,1″), 350 g.
The Katanga Cross or ‘handa’, was a form of ancient money used in and around present day Congo (DRC). Handa were X shaped ingots made by pouring molten copper into either a stone or sand mould. They came in all sizes, represented stored value and were a display of wealth or prestige. Larger examples are known to have been traded as far as Yemen, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Copper ingots were used as currency in the late 19th and 20th century. They take their name from Katanga, a copper mining region in present day Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Traditional African Art – by Henrik Ellert 2002