Arts of Africa
On View: African Storage Annex, East Gallery, 1st Floor
Gold was extremely important in the economic and political life of the Akan kingdoms of southern Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. Until the mid-nineteenth century, gold dust was the primary form of currency in the region. In order to measure precise amounts of gold, an elaborate system of weights, usually made of cast brass, developed by the seventeenth century. Gold weights took many forms: simple geometric shapes; animals, such as leopards or birds; objects, such as chairs or swords; and human figures. The figures, animals, and objects are often associated with proverbs. The sankofa bird, with head turned backward, represents the proverb “One must turn to the past to move forward.”
19th or 20th century
1 1/8 x 1/4 x 1 1/4 in. (2.9 x 0.6 x 3.2 cm) (show scale)
The Franklin H. Williams Collection of Ashanti Brass Weights and Accessory Objects for Weighing Gold, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Franklin H. Williams
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license
. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.
Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact email@example.com
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Asante. Gold Weight, 19th or 20th century. Cast brass, 1 1/8 x 1/4 x 1 1/4 in. (2.9 x 0.6 x 3.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, The Franklin H. Williams Collection of Ashanti Brass Weights and Accessory Objects for Weighing Gold, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Franklin H. Williams, 74.218.58. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 74.218.58_front_PS6.jpg)
front, 74.218.58_front_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2011
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
Cast brass weight in shape of two beetles. Their form is ovoid and obverse is very smooth. There is a thin semi-circular line between the heads and the bodies. The reverse is irregular.
Condition: Very good.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.