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Goldweight with a Geometric Pattern

A work made of copper alloy.

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  • A work made of copper alloy.


18th/early 20th century


Asante or related Akan-speaking peoples
Coastal West Africa

About this artwork

This rectangular gold weight is striking with its subtle trapezoid shape, gently rounded edges, and raised rectangle topped by three rectangular bars in reverse relief. Through simple geometrical means, this weight powerfully plays with positive and negative space. The patina on the face is two-toned; a yellow shade sharply contrasts with a deep brown, allowing for a varied response to light across its surface. 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. These gold weights—made of a copper alloy—thus enabled Akan merchants to trade with towns of the West African Sahel, North Africa, and later with the Europeans arriving on the coast in the late 15th century. 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 Pattern


Ghana (Object found 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 × 2.7 × 2 cm (1/4 × 1 1/4 × 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of the Britt Family Collection

Reference Number


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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