Lost wax casting has been used for centuries to create both decorative and utilitarian objects. In this process, molten metal is poured into a wax mold. As the metal cools, it stiffens and takes on the shape of the mold. The wax is destroyed in the process, hence the name 'lost wax". Objects such as this cuff were individually created, unique pieces emerging from the one-time use of a carefully carved mold.
This cuff was made in the Mandara Mountains of Cameroon and Nigeria, where the Kapsiki people wore similar cuffs to display wealth and status. During the 18th century, the cuffs developed a secondary function as an early form of currency; men would wear brass cuffs and could remove them to purchase important items such as livestock, land and weaponry.