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Between and Mortarboard

UMMA Object Specific Fields

Query builder

Goldweight in the shape of a crocodile

Accession Number

Goldweight in the shape of a crocodile


Artist Nationality
Akan (culture or style)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support

1 13/16 in x 1/2 in x 7/16 in (4.6 cm x 1.2 cm x 1.1 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Dr. James and Vivian Curtis

Subject matter
Crocodiles are a common form for the goldweights that have been used and produced by the Akan-speaking peoples of Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire since the 15th century. In fact, the representation of crocodiles is by no means restricted to weights and is seen on many other Akan art forms as well, particularly those associated with the king, the queen-mother, and the court. Indeed, crocodiles often stand for the king himself-- both are thought to have a versatile character. A number of proverbs relate to crocodiles as well, such as: "The crocodile is in the water but it also breathes air" and "The great (or old) crocodile swallows a stone every year." The latter might either be interpreted as a proverb, meaning that misfortune comes every year and must be accepted as a part of life, or as a royal appellation, in which the king is compared to a great crocodile.

Physical Description
Gold-weight in the shape of a crocodile.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

Collection Area

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