Kanak Coins

Kanak coin composed of a long string with shell beads, pendants, and woven fibers
Kanak artist, coin, New Caledonia, c. 1900.
Photo Éric Dell Erba
© Collection du musée de Nouvelle-Calédonie

Coins are composite objects exchanged within the Kanak world, the indigenous populations of New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean. The labeling of these objects as coins derives from the European perception of these objects based on their function. However, their meaning goes beyond economic value, carrying a strong symbolic and social power, today and in the past. Today, as Kanak coins are exhibited in museums around the world, we can add heritage significance to these objects’ social, symbolic, and economic value. Let us focus on these objects that materialize relationships as they are established.

Read more in the first issue of Convergence.

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