Goldweight with a Geometric Design

A work made of copper alloy.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of copper alloy.

Date:

18th/19th century

Artist:

Asante or related Akan-speaking peoples
Ghana
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.

–Permanent Collection Object Description

Currently Off View

Arts of Africa

Artist

Asante

Title

Goldweight with a Geometric Design

Origin

Ghana

Date

1700–1899

Medium

Copper alloy

Dimensions

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

Credit Line

Gift of the Britt Family Collection

Reference Number

1978.914

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 .

Share

Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions

Share