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Goldweight in the Form of a Geometric Shape


18th/19th century


Asante or related Akan-speaking peoples
Coastal West Africa

About this artwork

Weights for measuring gold dust were made and used throughout Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire for more than five centuries, from about 1400 to 1900. These weights are either figurative or abstract and are usually divided into an early period (c. 1400–1700) and a late period (c. 1700–1900). During the late period, an increased variety and number of figurative and abstract weights emerged, although abstract weights continued to be the most common.
While this weight is relatively simple in its geometry, the flat ends and rounded core create a tension that gives the piece dynamism. Various gold weights continued to be used until around 1900, at which point gold mining was brought under European control and colonial coinage replaced the gold-dust currency.


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Arts of Africa




Goldweight in the Form of a Geometric Shape


Ghana (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Copper alloy


2.9 × 2.9 × 2.9 cm (1 1/8 × 1 1/8 × 1 1/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Muriel Kallis Newman

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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