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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.


18th/19th century


Asante or related Akan-speaking peoples
Coastal West Africa

About this artwork

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 with towns of the West African Sahel, North Africa and later, with the Portuguese and the Dutch. The designs of gold weights are incredibly diverse—consisting of simple geometric designs in either high or low relief to representational sculptural forms based on items essential to West African life. This weight shows signs of extensive wear and use, suggesting that it may be from an early period, probably some time between 1500 and 1720. Its composition consists of two concentric squares and a singular lattice form placed centrally and prominently in the center.


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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


0.5 × 2 × 2.3 cm (3/16 × 3/4 × 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of the Britt Family Collection

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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