Cowrie or cowry is the common name for a group of small to large sea snails, marine gastropod mollusks in the family Cypraeidae, the cowries. The term porcelain derives from the old Italian term for the cowrie shell due to their similar appearance. Shells of certain species have been used as currency in several parts of the world, as well as being used, in the past and present extensively in jewelry, for other decorative and ceremonial purposes; the cowrie was the shell most used worldwide as shell money. It is most abundant in the Indian Ocean, was collected in the Maldive Islands, in Sri Lanka, along the Malabar coast, in Borneo and on other East Indian islands, in various parts of the African coast from Ras Hafun to Mozambique. Cowrie shell money was important in the trade networks of Africa, South Asia, East Asia; some species in the family Ovulidae are often referred to as cowries. In the British Isles the local Trivia species are sometimes called cowries; the Ovulidae and the Triviidae are somewhat related to Cypraeidae.
The word cowrie comes from Hindi कौडि, Marathi कवडी or Kannada ಕವಡೆ and from Sanskrit कपर्द. The shells of cowries are smooth and shiny and more or less egg-shaped, with a flat under surface which shows a long, slit-like opening, toothed at the edges; the narrower end of the egg-shaped cowrie shell is the anterior end. The spire of the shell is not visible in the adult shell of most species, but is visible in juveniles, which have a different shape from the adults. Nearly all cowries have a porcelain-like shine, with some exceptions such as Hawaii's granulated cowrie, Nucleolaria granulata. Many have colorful patterns. Lengths range from 5 mm for some species up to 19 cm for the Atlantic deer cowrie, Macrocypraea cervus. Cowrie shells Monetaria moneta, were used for centuries as currency by native Africans. After the 1500s, however, it became more common. Western nations, chiefly through the slave trade, introduced huge numbers of Maldivian cowries in Africa; the Ghanaian unit of currency known as the Ghanaian cedi was named after cowrie shells.
Starting over three thousand years ago, cowrie shells, or copies of the shells, were used as Chinese currency. They were used as means of exchange in India; the Classical Chinese character for money originated as a stylized drawing of a Maldivian cowrie shell. Words and characters concerning money, property or wealth have this as a radical. Before the Spring and Autumn period the cowrie was used as a type of trade token awarding access to a feudal lord's resources to a worthy vassal; the Ojibway aboriginal people in North America use cowrie shells which are called sacred Miigis Shells or whiteshells in Midewiwin ceremonies, the Whiteshell Provincial Park in Manitoba, Canada is named after this type of shell. There is some debate about how the Ojibway traded for or found these shells, so far inland and so far north distant from the natural habitat. Oral stories and birch bark scrolls seem to indicate that the shells were found in the ground, or washed up on the shores of lakes or rivers. Finding the cowrie shells so far inland could indicate the previous use of them by an earlier tribe or group in the area, who may have obtained them through an extensive trade network in the ancient past.
In Brazil, as a result of the Atlantic slave trade from Africa, cowrie shells are played as used to consult the Orixás divinities and hear their replies. Cowrie shells were among the devices used for divination by the Kaniyar Panicker astrologers of Kerala, India. In certain parts of Africa, cowries were prized charms, they were said to be associated with fecundity, sexual pleasure and good luck. Cowrie shells are worn as jewelry or otherwise used as ornaments or charms, they are viewed as symbols of womanhood, fertility and wealth. Its underside is supposed, by one modern ethnographic author, to represent an eye. On the Fiji Islands, a shell of the golden cowrie or bulikula, Cypraea aurantium, was drilled at the ends and worn on a string around the neck by chieftains as a badge of rank; the women of Tuvalu use other shells in traditional handicrafts. Cowrie shells are sometimes used in a way similar to dice, e.g. in board games like Pachisi, Ashta Chamma or in divination. A number of shells are thrown, with those landing aperture upwards indicating the actual number rolled.
In Nepal cowries are used for a gambling game, where 16 pieces of cowries are tossed by four different bettors. This game is played at homes and in public during the Hindu festival of Tihar or Deepawali. In the same festival these shells are worshiped as a symbol of Goddess Lakshmi and wealth. Large cowrie shells such as that of a Cypraea tigris have been used in Europe in the recent past as a darning egg over which sock heels were stretched; the cowrie's smooth surface allows the needle to be positioned under the cloth more easily. In the 1940s and 1950s, small cowry shells were used as a teaching aid in infant schools e.g counting, subtracting. Money cowry Shell money Whiteshell Felix Lorenz and Alex Hubert, A Guide to Worldwide Cowries. Collier's New Encyclopedia. 1921. "Cowry". Encyclopedia Americana. 1920
For other places with the same name, see Wazirabad Dariba Kalan, is a 17th-century street in Chandni Chowk area of Old Delhi or Shahjahanbad. It lies within the walled city of Delhi, connects the Chandni Chowk area with Jama Masjid, it derives its name from the Persian Dur-e be-baha, which translates as "unparalleled pearl", while suffix Kalan means big. There was a smaller street near by, known as Dariba Khurd or Chhota Dariba, both Khurd and Chhota meaning "small"; this is in reference to its history as a popular market for precious stones and gold and silver jewelry under the reign of the 17th-century Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The street witnessed the bloody massacre of Delhi in March 1739, ordered by the Persian invader Nadir Shah, when hundreds of innocent civilians and soldiers were killed and the gold shops were looted. Today, most of the shops in Dariba Kalan trade in costume jewellery; some deal in authentic ittar, a special variety of perfume. These stores claim to date back to the early 19th century.
Near by is Kinari Bazaar, Gali Kazanchi, Gali Paranthe Wali at both ends of the street are famous jalebi shops. Dariba Kalan is mentioned in the popular song Kajra Re from the hit Hindi film Bunty aur Babli Nadir Shah Jainism in Delhi
Performance Food Group Company is an American company, founded in 1885 in Richmond, Virginia by food peddler James Capers. Headquartered in Goochland County, the company distributes a range of food products, has more than 14,000 employees, it has three divisions, each catering to specific market segments: Performance Foodservice, PFG Customized. Capers' original business grew into Pocahontas Foods; the company became Performance Food Group in 1987. In 2008, the company announced it was to be acquired by Wellspring Capital Management and Blackstone Group for $1.3 billion. Two other foodservice companies owned by the private equity firms, snack food distributor Vistar and Italian foodservice company Roma Foods, were merged into PFG. PFG went public in 2015. PFGC official website