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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Indigenous Currencies and the History of Marriage Payments. A Case Study from Cameroon
Author:Guyer, Jane I.ISNI
Periodical:Cahiers d'Útudes africaines
Geographic term:Botswana
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Women's Issues
Economics and Trade
Cultural Roles
Marital Relations and Nuptiality
External link:https://doi.org/10.3406/cea.1986.1685
Abstract:This paper uses regional variation in marriage payments within a single ethnolinguistic region - Pahouin - to suggest a dynamic change over time. For the Pahouin region, now divided amongst southern Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and the Congo, Tessmann (1913) documented six different spear or axe-shaped iron currencies, of different sizes, tied into bundles of different numerical composition, used to mediate a whole variety of transactions but in particular the payment of bridewealth. There are three aspects which synchronic anthropological studies suggest to be related to one another through the indigenous concept of wealth (ak˙ma): the incidence of polygyny, the social organization of long-distance trade, and the currency system. This paper deals with each of these three dimensions of wealth in turn and with the regional configurations which their confluence produced by the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Special attention is given to a comparison of the two northern groups amongst whom fieldwork was done in 1984, the Eton and the Ewondo. App., bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in French (p. 753).