periferic


Rai Stones by peterfuchs
September 18, 2008, 12:26 pm
Filed under: Art as Gift Research blog | Tags:
Rai Stone carried by the indigenous Yap people

Rai Stone carried by the indigenous Yap people

Rai Stones are a special form of currency, which acts as symbolic item in exchanges on the Micronesian island of Yap. It does resembles a large stone coin, craved out of limestone, has an average width of 1 meter  and weights up to 4 tonnes.The stones value is changing according to its history, where was it transported, and if anyone died during its transport.

Rai stones were used in social transactions such as marriage, inheritance, political deals, sign of an alliance, ransom of the battle dead or just in exchange for food. Many of them are placed in front of meetinghouses or specific pathways. Though the ownership of a particular stone changes, the stone itself is rarely moved. The names of previous owners are passed down to the new one. (via Wikiepdia)

Further information on the rai stones, and their useage on the wikipedia. I would higlight the fact that the colonial Japanese forces used them as anchors as they found no value in these items.

(image is by Rudy)

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