Gold-weightArtist(s)AkanArtist NationalityAkan (culture or style)Object Creation Date1900-1985Medium & SupportbrassDimensions
2 1/2 in x 11/16 in x 3/16 in (6.4 cm x 1.7 cm x 0.5 cm)Credit LineGift of Dr. James and Vivian CurtisSubject matter
Figurative gold-weight in the form of a sword with a hooked blade, called afena
in Twi. During the 16th century, the use of swords was first recorded and they have played an important part in ritual and ceremonial contexts ever since. The curved, flat blade commonly found on Akan swords may have come from similar Islamic weapons that were carried along trans-Saharan trade routes (cf. Sheales, African Goldweights, 2014). In the 18th and 19th centuries, swords became increasingly elaborate to show the status and power of Akan officials. This allowed for internal and external communication in royal courts, as sword-bearers were sometimes sent to other courts as ambassadors (cf. McLeod, The Asante, 1981, pp. 88-90). These state or ceremonial swords are part of a king's regalia, but since the early 20th century, the role of swords has declined and today they remain in use as items of display (cf. McLeod, The Asante, 1981, p. 94).Physical Description
Gold-weight in the shape of a wide, flat blade with a curved hook at one end and a handle in the form of two balls connected by a narrow rod with a small ball the end. Primary Object Classification Metalwork Primary Object TypegoldweightCollection AreaAfricanRights
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.
miniature (size attribute)