Rai Stone

Rai Stone

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Description
This stone ring called a rai (ray) weighs 112 pounds. It’s from the island of Yap in the Pacific Ocean. Rai ranged in size from a couple inches to the size of a large car.
Rai don’t work like the money in your pocket does. Rai were only used for special kinds of payments, such as wedding gifts. Very heavy rai did not move around the island even after they changed owners. For hundreds of years, people on the island of Yap have displayed the stone rai at their homes. They show a family’s importance in the island community.
Rai are made of a stone found on the island of Palau, 280 miles away from Yap. This stone broke when it was moved from one location to another, before the Smithsonian received it.
Object Name
alternative currency
place made
Federated States of Micronesia: Yap, Yap
Physical Description
stone (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 11 cm x 60 cm; 4 11/32 in x 23 5/8 in
ID Number
NU.72.172.1
catalog number
72.172.1
accession number
303400
Credit Line
William C. Moore
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Work and Industry: National Numismatic Collection
Exhibition
Really BIG Money
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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