This finely cast 18th Century gold weight depicts a bush cow, an animal native to Ghana. The base of each of the bush cow's two curved horns feature raised spiral lines, and the cow's missing front leg may have been removed in order to adjust the weight.
In the late fourteenth-century, the Akan developed a system of using cast brass weights for measuring gold dust, their main currency, which remained in use until the late 1800s. Gold weights could also be worn as charms to cure ailments, gifted with dowries of gold dust or sent as pertinent messages. Proverbs depicted in the form of the weight could provide a piece of advice, recall a debt, serve as a warning or token of friendship.
Estimated Period: 18th/19th Century
Royal Museums Greenwich, 'Akan Gold Weight'
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