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Traditions & Encounters: Art of Africa, Oceania & Native North America

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Goldweight

1 5/8 x 1 1/8 x 1/2 in. (4.1 x 2.9 x 1.3 cm)

Unknown, Asante
Ghanaian

Object Type: Metalwork
Medium and Support: Brass
Credit Line: R. T. Miller Fund
Accession Number: 1953.76.1
Location: Currently on view
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Fueled by rich deposits of gold, the Asante engaged in extensive trade relations with European and African nations. Buyers and vendors used brass weights such as these to counterbalance gold dust on scales. Each Asante family had their own set of brass pieces. Unsurprisingly the vendors’ weights were often too heavy and the buyer’s weights too light. Many goldweights represented local proverbs with social or moral meanings that served as ethical reminders during the sometimes fraught ordeal of gold-weighing. If this weight was associated with a proverb, the cultural association has been lost to us.
[Gallery label text, 2009]

Provenance
Robert Rousset, New York (dealer); purchased from him by the Gallery in 1953

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