Rare, large iron ball and chain complete with two padlocks, circa early 1800s.

Rare large Iron ball measuring 12" x 8" with a 10-foot hand forged square link chain, used to restrict the movement of high risk enslaved Africans. Ball weight is approximately 60 lbs. The device was used especially at night by attaching several slave shackles to this device to prevent escape from the plantation. Most likely used in South Carolina.

Deaccessioned from a museum. From the certificate of authenticity: This ball and chain comes complete with two barrel type padlocks, with original keys attached, but not in working order due to the age of the internal mechanism. One of the padlocks has an African Adinka symbol, also referred to as a cosmogram. It symbolizes an "x" similar to a "cross" which is extremely rare and found on slave-made pottery and hand forged iron items in South Carolina. The symbol is named "Epa", meaning "bring justice for their Slavery or bondage". Further research by Leland Ferguson, an historical archaeologist at University of South Carolina, has suggested that even pottery was found in South Carolina with similar identified markings similar to the cosmograms used in traditional rituals of the Kongo people from Africa's Congo Angolan region.

The Kongo icon or symbol representing the "x" or "cross" enclosed in a circle also referred to the daily course of the sun and the continuity of life through birth, death, and rebirth.

Only one such item is known in a private collection but smaller in size and lacking the original square chain and both locking mechanisms. That item is purported to be from the Henrietta Slave Ship Collection.

Item: 59966

Price: $9,000.00
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