Skip to Content
Closed now, next open tomorrow. Closed now, next open tomorrow.

Goldweight with a Geometric Design

A work made of copper alloy.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of copper alloy.


18th/19th century


Asante or related Akan-speaking peoples
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.


Currently Off View


Arts of Africa




Goldweight with a Geometric Design


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


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

Credit Line

Gift of the Britt Family Collection

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.

Learn more.

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.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions