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Between and Mortarboard


UMMA Object Specific Fields






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Gold-weight

Accession Number
1997/1.477

Title
Gold-weight

Artist(s)
Akan

Artist Nationality
Akan (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
1900-1985

Medium & Support
brass

Dimensions
3/4 in x 9/16 in x 3/8 in (1.9 cm x 1.5 cm x 0.9 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Dr. James and Vivian Curtis

Subject matter
Geometric gold-weight decorated with a raised central motif of a cursive sankofa bird symbol (cf. British Museum object number Af1922,1027.139) surrounded on two sides by a comb-like motif. This abstract design of the sankofa symbol, a bird looking backwards, is often associated with the proverb 'pick it up if it falls behind you', which means to learn from past experiences and not to be afraid to try to fix past mistakes (cf. Sheales, African Goldweights, 2014; MacLeod, The Asante, 1981, p. 128). This spiral design could also resemble the motif known as dwanimen or dwenini aben, the ram's horn, which is often regarded as a symbol of strength (cf. Garrard, Akan Weights and the Gold Trade, 1980, p. 196, 284; Phillips, African Goldweights, 2010, p. 28). 

Physical Description
Gold-weight in the shape of a square base with a central spiral surmounting an arch, surrounded by raised notches along two sides. 

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
birds (motifs)
goldweights
measuring
miniature (size attribute)
weighing devices

3 Related Resources

PAST- Moon & Lunar Study Cases    
(Part of: FFW Lower Level Study Cases     )
F20 Barry - ENVIRON 244: Art in Nature: Micro to Macro
(Part of: Examples of Online Activities)
SP21 Barry - ENVIRON 244: Art in Nature: Micro to Macro
(Part of: Examples of Online Activities)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted