Gold weight

CULTURE:
Asante peoples; Baule peoples; Senufo culture, possibly
DATE:
17th–19th century
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General Description

The earliest goldweights were made of stone, copper, iron, or basalt. As the trans-Saharan trade routes became more established, the Akan learned the technique of brass casting from their North African trading partners, which allowed them to create figurative goldweights, such as this leopard-shaped weight. Prior to its replacement by the lion in the late 19th century, the leopard was the traditional symbol for a ruler. Leopards were more common in the forested Akan territories, but lions’ symbolism resonated with European traders.

Adapted from

  • Roslyn Walker, The Power of Gold: Asante Royal Regalia from Ghana, Gallery text, "Weighing Gold," 2018.

  • Roslyn Walker, The Power of Gold: Asante Royal Regalia from Ghana, Label text, 2018.