May 8, 2009
Nov 5, 2009

Gold Weight (abrammuo): Antelope

Gold Weight (abrammuo): Antelope


Copper alloy

Overall: 5.2 cm (2 1/16 in.)

James Albert Ford Memorial Fund 1935.306



The wealth and power of the Asante kingdom was derived primarily from its massive gold resources. Since at least 1600, small weights in brass and bronze were used to weight gold dust and nuggets. The royal court had the most elaborate store of weights, while commoners often had about a dozen. Their imagery falls into two broad cateogries: geometric and representational. The latter often refers to proverbs, which used judiciously, marked a wise person. The weight in the form of an antelope with enormous horns may refer to the proverb "had I known" -- a visual pun between the length of the horns and the idea of hindsight as perfect vision.

See also
African Art
African Art
Type of artwork: 
Copper alloy

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