- Asante peoples
- 18th–19th century
Proverb: The crocodile lies in the water, but it also drinks the air.
Meaning: If you want to be strong and powerful, you must also be adaptable.
This goldweight shaped like a crocodile is associated with the proverb above. 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. These utilitarian objects gained significance because their imagery signified a proverb or maxim.
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.