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Between and Mortarboard


UMMA Object Specific Fields






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Gold-weight

Accession Number
1997/1.372

Title
Gold-weight

Artist(s)
Akan

Artist Nationality
Akan (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
20th century

Medium & Support
brass

Dimensions
7/8 in x 1/2 in x 1/8 in (2.2 cm x 1.2 cm x 0.3 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Dr. James and Vivian Curtis

Subject matter
Gold-weight with a geometric pattern of two stars. 

From about 1400 to 1900, Akan-speaking peoples of Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire used small, portable weights for measuring gold dust. At first, the gold-weights were primarily geometric, while figurative weights became popular from the 18th century onwards. According to some scholars, this Akan gold-weight represents a double 8-rayed star, which might be the symbol for the planet Venus, locally known as "Afi". The star is composed of two crosses, one representing the male element and the other the female element -- together they show that the union of male and female elements are necessary for procreation.

Physical Description
Gold-weight in the shape of a rectangle with two sets of eight lines each radiating from a central point. 

Primary Object Classification
Metalwork

Primary Object Type
goldweight

Collection Area
African

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
goldweights
measuring
miniature (size attribute)
stars (motifs)
weighing devices

2 Related Resources

Celestial bodies
(Part of: Natural World)
Winter Break SC 2018
(Part of: FFW Lower Level Study Cases     )

& Author Notes

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