Geometric Gold Weight (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

19th–20th century
Tools, Equipment, Utensils
copper alloy
Overall: 1/2 × 1 5/16 × 1 in. (1.27 × 3.33 × 2.54 cm)

The Akan love the wit and wisdom of proverbs and have an extensive repertoire to call on for any situation or dilemma. In the market place, gold dust was the preferred means of exchange, and the elaborate goldweights that represent objects and figures often incorporate visual references to proverbs. For example, the man carrying a load on his head and holding a walking stick, while smoking a pipe (2005.26), refers to a saying that although we work hard, we find ways to enjoy ourselves.

Weights designed with geometric forms are generally older than the figurative ones. The small spoon and container are tools to hold and measure gold dust.

Objects of this type in the VMFA collection include: 2005.31, 2006.105, 2006.108, 2006.123, 2006.131, 2006.141, 2006.151, 2006.155, 2006.170, 2006.178, 2006.180, 2006.185–.187, 2006.192–.194, 2006.199, 2006.208, 2006.211–.213, 2015.470, 95.70, 95.72, 2005.26, 2005.29

Gift of Robert and Nancy Nooter
Fortune, Courage, Love: Arts of Africa’s Akan and Kuba Kingdoms from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, William King Museum, Abingdon, Virginia, March 28 - July 12, 2015; Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke, Virginia, September 26, 2015 - January 3, 2016; Piedmont Arts, Martinsville, Virginia, January 16 - March 6, 2016
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

Some object records are not complete and do not reflect VMFA's full and current knowledge. VMFA makes routine updates as records are reviewed and enhanced.