Kamak coin composed of a long string with braids of bat hair, shells, and pendants

Monnaies kanak

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. [...]

Photo: Kanak artist, coin, New Caledonia, c. 1900. Éric Dell Erba © Collection du musée de Nouvelle-Calédonie

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