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Ankle shackles

Object Number: 
INV.6313
Date: 
1750-1850
Medium: 
Iron
Dimensions: 
Each (shackle): 6 x 6 x 1 in. (15.2 x 15.2 x 2.5 cm) Part (length of chain): 11 x 2 x 5/8 in. (27.9 x 5.1 x 1.6 cm)
Description: 
Pair of iron ankle or leg shackles; round with a peg hinge and two c-curves that close over each other (would have to be cut off); three large oval chain links attach to a tab on each shackle.
Gallery Label: 
These heavy shackles are hinged with an iron peg and closed with two c-curves. Once fitted around a prisoner's ankles, they cannot be opened unless cut apart. During the slave trade, such restraints would have been used to inhibit slave escapes and rebellions. According to Olaudah Equiano, who was sold into slavery in the mid-eighteenth century, the sight of the chains alone was enough to provoke "horror and anguish."
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group