Every detail and feature of the beetle has been finely preserved in bronze, from its tiny claws to the pattern of striations on the insect's shell. Having been 'cast from life' by an Akan goldsmith, the bronze beetle would have been used to measure gold dust. From the fifteenth to nineteenth century, goldsmiths created gold weights in a variety of styles - depicting figures, geometric shapes, objects or animals.
Akan gold weights were also worn as charms to cure ailments, gifted with dowries of gold dust or sent as pertinent messages. Proverbs depicted in the form of weight could provide a piece of advice, recall a debt, serve as a warning or token of friendship.
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