The Cowrie in East Africa

Haour, Anne ORCID: and Moffett, Abigail ORCID: (2019) The Cowrie in East Africa. In: Encyclopedia of the Global Middle Ages. Bloomsbury Publishing PLC.

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Cowrie shells present a fascinating story as a key economic and social product of the Medieval world, taking on major importance in places such as West Africa, China, Bengal, and Northern Europe. Their widespread popularity and exchange, and the range of uses to which they were put, make these shells a key theme in global history. They were used, loose or strung, as currency; combined with other elements to form charms, added onto clothing and other materials as decorative elements, grouped for use as vehicles of divination, or deposited as grave goods or votive offerings. Tracing the exchange of cowries brings to light the expansive networks that linked different regions across the Medieval world, while similarities and differences in their use provide critical insights into past economies and social lives. This contribution sits within the wider thematic section 'Work' of the Encyclopedia, under the heading 'Trade and exchange'. Agriculture and Fishing Core Case Study Agrarian Maya Culture and Civilization Fish Farming and the Carp in Medieval Europe Trade and Exchange Thematic Overviews Trade Systems, 600–900: Tang China and the Abbasid Caliphate Core Case Study The Cowrie in East Africa Technologies

Item Type: Book Section
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Area Studies
Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Centres > Sainsbury Research Unit for the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas
Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Centres > Centre for African Art and Archaeology
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2022 16:30
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2024 23:35


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