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Goldweight Depicting a Pyramid

A work made of copper alloy.

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  • A work made of copper alloy.


19th/mid–20th 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 in 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 is cast in the shape of a pyramid formed by four concentric rectangles stacked on top of one another and is hollow at the bottom. It was cast using the lost-wax technique.


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Arts of Africa




Goldweight Depicting a Pyramid


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


1.4 × 1.5 × 1.5 cm (9/16 × 5/8 × 5 13/16 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Gottlieb

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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