For centuries, gold dust was used asa currency among the Akan of Ghana. Finely decorated spoons such as these, known as saawa, would have been used to carefully measure the precious dust in a financial transaction. Created from sheet brass, the handles of the spoons each display a variety of geometric designs.
Using a spoon, gold dust would be lifted from a storage box and placed on one side of a beam scale, to be measured against a weight. Subsequently, the gold dust currency would be stored in small bronze containers, and the tools used to handle it - namely, spoons and gold weights - would be carried in a bag called a futuo.
Ex Private Collection, UK
Estimated Period: 19th Century
'Spoon', Smithsonian Institution
(Click on images to enlarge)