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UMMA Object Specific Fields






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Gold-weight

Accession Number
1997/1.402

Title
Gold-weight

Artist(s)
Akan

Artist Nationality
Akan (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
1900-1985

Medium & Support
brass

Dimensions
9/16 in x 5/8 in x 7/16 in (1.5 cm x 1.6 cm x 1.1 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Dr. James and Vivian Curtis

Subject matter
Gold-weight in the shape of a square base with a geometric pattern derived of the swastika form. The shape known as swastika in the West, and variations of this form, is a common motif on the gold-weights used and produced by Akan-speaking peoples since around the 16th century (cf. Garrard, Akan Weights and the Gold Trade, 1980, p. 281). Informants from contemporary Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire give a number of interpretations for this form. It is sometimes called "efo'sa," or "monkey's hand," because of its supposed resemblance to the footprint of the colubus monkey (cf. Garrard, Akan Weights and the Gold Trade, 1980, p. 196). Alternatively, the form could be a stylized rendering of a common Akan motif and proverb: two crocodiles sharing one stomach, called "dindje blafou" in Côte d'Ivoire  or " Funtumfrafu denkyemfrafu" in Ghana (cf. Garrard, Akan Weights and the Gold Trade, 1980, p. 196; Niangoran-Bouah, The Akan World of Gold Weights, 1984, p. 172). Finally, informants and scholars have interpreted the swastika-form and its derivatives as variations of a shaved hairstyle worn by the maidservants of a queen mother (cf. MacLeod, The Asante, 1981, p. 143).

Physical Description
Gold-weight in the shape of a square base with two raised, crossed lines each with a set of two smaller parallel lines branching outward. 

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)
weighing devices

& Author Notes

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