dijous, 14 de desembre del 2017

A currency for her island

The story starts in 1505, when the Queen of the small Buton island in Sulawesi decided to cut her striped dress into small squares, creating a currency for her island. For the five following centuries, the bank notes were exclusively woven by the princesses throughout generations, on an island kept secret in order to prevent falsification. It was forbidden by the King to take de bank notes outside of the island. Every pattern of stripes had a different value, and a white piece could buy ten water buffaloes.
In the last days of the Dutch colony, officials forced the islanders to swap their woven currency against Gulden coins. From all pieces, only 12 survived and are today kept at the National Museum of Jakarta.

Alexis Gautier, Pulau Jengkerik.