protective charm; amulet; ingot; musuku

Protective charm. Copper cast of roughly cuboid shape fused to an irregularly-shaped disc.

'Musuku' (ingots) vary in size and weight. Some are hollow while others are solid. However, they all conform to a similar form, having (usually) a base leading to a narrower shaft terminating in a series of projections. 'Musuku' are thought to have been cast by pouring molten copper into an impression made in sand, the projections being the extremities and the base formed by the overflow (as seen in this object). Their significance and use remain a mystery, although a few are still said to be in the ownership of Venda chiefs, being 'revered as objects of authority and spiritual power' (Van Schalkwyk in Phillips, T., 1995, p 200).

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

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