b. Ghana, 20th Century

1973.71.jpg
TH1973.71SIDE.jpg

Description

Gold weight
20th C.
Cast brass
1 7/8 x 2 1/8 x 1" OVERALL
Europeans collectively referred to Ghana and its surrounding regions as the Gold Coast in recognition of the lucrative resources located in West Africa. As the name suggests, gold weights were made to conform to precise standards in order to settle economic transactions among merchants. When gold dust ceased to be used as a form of currency, such objects continued to be passed down as heirlooms and have continued to be sold as souvenir items to tourists. Created through the lost-wax casting process, figurative gold weights like this one represent a later stage of Akan artistic development, with the earliest geometric style dating back to the emergence of Arab and sub-Saharan trade networks around the 9th century. The hunting scene here depicts a kneeling man with a musket aimed towards a leopard perched in a nearby tree. The visual context helps illustrate a number of Akan proverbs, which are considered a hallmark of Ghanaian art and culture.

Date

20th Century

Creator

b. Ghana

Source

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Cole

Identifier

1973.71

Collection

Citation

b. Ghana, “b. Ghana, 20th Century,” UCSB ADA Museum Omeka, accessed September 24, 2022, http://art-collections.museum.ucsb.edu/items/show/14373.