Brass - Late nineteenth to early twentieth century
This brass anklet is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As well as a form of personal adornment, metal jewellery in Congo and surrounding regions in Africa was often used as both a store and indicator of wealth. As this anklet is very heavy it would have been quite uncomfortable to wear. The owner might wear such impractical jewellery as a sign that they were wealthy enough that other people did the manual labour.
The anklet was brought to Reading by John and William Forfeitt. They both travelled to what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo for the Baptist Missionary Society, the former as Secretary and the latter as a Missionary. It is likely objects such as this were collected as curios, given up by locals who had been converted to Christianity, or brought back to Britain for use in missionary exhibitions and fundraising talks. The Forfeitts had links to significant Reading families and businesses - both worked for Suttons Seeds before their mission with the BMS, and William Forfeitt married a daughter of the Collier family.
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