Shield, Akan Gold Weight, Ghana, 19th century


These brass weights were used by the Akan people of modern day Ghana and the Ivory Coast for measuring gold dust between the late thirteenth and early twentieth centuries. They were cast into geometric shapes and figures of animals and people. These weights set a standard for measuring gold dust and made it easier to use gold dust as currency. The weights’ varied forms reflect Akan culture as well as cultural interaction between West African, North African, and European traders over five centuries.

Date Made: 19th century

Place Used: Ghana

See more items in: Work and Industry: National Numismatic Collection, West African Currency

Exhibition: The Value of Money

Exhibition Location: National Museum of American History

Related Publication: Feingold, Ellen R.. Value of Money, The

Credit Line: National Museum of African Art

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1985.0797.1Catalog Number: 1985.0797.1Accession Number: 1985.0797

Object Name: weightOther Terms: weight; Africa; Ghana, Akan

Physical Description: metal, (overall material)brass/gray (overall color)cast (overall production method/technique)Measurements: overall: 4.9 cm x 3.85 cm x 1.6 cm; 1 15/16 in x 1 17/32 in x 5/8 in


Record Id: nmah_1068515

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