Gold weight

CULTURE:
Asante peoples; Baule peoples; Senufo culture, possibly
DATE:
15th–17th century
more object details

General Description

Early geometric Asante goldweights, usually taking the shape of a square, rectangle, or polygon, began to be made according to the Portuguese ounce-based weight system after 1500. This was in contrast to earlier goldweights that used an Islamic weight system, based on a measure called mithqal (Arabic for "unit of weight"), which the Akan peoples used in order to effectively engage in trade with Arab and North African merchants. Patterns decorating the later ounce-based goldweights include raised bars, ridged edges and surfaces, bow-tie or X motifs, and a variety of linear designs.

Adapted from

  • Roslyn Walker, The Power of Gold: Asante Royal Regalia from Ghana, Gallery text, "Early-period geometric goldweights," 2018.

  • Roslyn Walker, The Power of Gold: Asante Royal Regalia from Ghana, Gallery text, "Early stone and iron goldweights," 2018.