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Goldweight with a Geometric Design

A work made of copper alloy.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of copper alloy.

Date:

18th/19th century

Artist:

Asante or related Akan-speaking peoples
Ghana
Coastal West Africa

About this artwork

This rectangular gold weight’s surface composition consists of two “comb” motifs facing opposite directions. These motifs are separated by a generous gap with deeply incised lines running through the middle of the weight. The use of the “comb” design suggests that this piece was made sometime between 1700 and 1900. Brass-cast gold weights were used to measure gold dust, the local currency in the Akan-speaking regions of southern Ghana and the Ivory Coast between the 15th and 20th centuries. The gold weights—made of a copper alloy—enabled merchants to carry out trade within towns of the West African Sahel, North Africa, and later with the Portuguese and the Dutch. Gold weights ceased being used at the beginning of the 20th century, when gold was replaced by bank notes and coinage. However, they continued to be made for sale to tourists.

–Permanent Collection Object Description

Currently Off View

Arts of Africa

Culture

Asante

Title

Goldweight with a Geometric Design

Origin

Ghana

Date

1700–1899

Medium

Copper alloy

Dimensions

0.7 x 1.5 x 2.3 cm (1/4 x 9/16 x 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of the Britt Family Collection

Reference Number

1978.912

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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