Akan Gold Weight

Akan Gold Weight

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Usage conditions apply
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.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Gold Weight Sankofa Bird
alternative currency
Other Terms
Gold Weight Sankofa Bird; Africa; West, Ashanti
date made
place used
Physical Description
brass alloy (overall material)
black/brass (overall color)
gray (overall color)
cast (overall production method/technique)
overall: 3.9 cm x 5 cm x 2.5 cm; 1 17/32 in x 1 31/32 in x 31/32 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Marjorie A. Cope
See more items in
Work and Industry: National Numismatic Collection
West African Currency
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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