Gold weight

CULTURE:
Asante peoples; Baule peoples; Senufo culture, possibly
DATE:
18th–19th century
more object details

General Description

Proverb: If the ram is fond of butting, its courage comes from the heart, not from the horns.

Meaning: A man's nature is not changed by circumstances.

This goldweight of a sword decorated with rams' heads 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.

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.