The ‘Kauri’ – Ego Kiri Kiri: Pre-colonial Cash and its Religious Usages Among the Igbo of Southeastern Nigeria

Ukachukwu Chris MANUS, National University of Lesotho & Jude Chiedo UKAGA, University of Benin, Edo State, Nigeria

The Kauri, Ego Kiri Kiri, the pre-colonial cash in Igboland of Nigeria and its usages in the religious, ritual and votive offerings in shrines, temples and in sanctuaries so widespread in the then Igboland is the focus of this article. Many had used their cash to placate the “gods of the ancestors”who they believed had prospered their “hands”. Ego Kiri Kiri became, no doubt, the essential commodity to implore the Eze Mmuos (Chief priests/esses) to plead the divinities to solicit their continued blessings. Our study adopts “the methodology of oral tradition” to reconstruct the historical trajectories of the Kauri and its pluriform usages in the religious houses across Igboland. The article concludes that the religious usages of the Kauri reveal Igboman’s conscious awareness of the nexus between spirituality and economic pursuits.

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