Goldweight with a Geometric Pattern

A work made of copper alloy.

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  • A work made of copper alloy.

Date:

18th/early 20th century

Artist:

Asante or related Akan-speaking peoples
Ghana
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.

–Permanent Collection Object Description

Currently Off View

Arts of Africa

Artist

Asante

Title

Goldweight with a Geometric Pattern

Origin

Ghana

Date

1700–1925

Medium

Copper alloy

Dimensions

0.7 x 2.7 x 2 cm (1/4 x 1 1/4 x 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of the Britt Family Collection

Reference Number

1978.913

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 .

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