Street scene with a lot of blue toned umbrellas and people at a market. Lamp post in the foreground, line drawings of buildings in the background. Birds flying in the sky. Blues, browns, whites, greens and specks of red colors throughout.
Goldweight with a base in the shape of a pentagon, bearing two undecorated bars.
The Akan-speaking peoples of Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire have long used goldweights such as this one to weigh off the amount of gold dust required in a particular transaction. This kind of weight is a polygon, bearing a graphic sign on top. Scholars like Niangoran-Bouah have argued that the signs on Akan goldweights are a real writing system, based on 254 basic signs that can occur (alone or in combinations) on goldweights as well as many other media. In this example, the vertical bars might relate to a numerical sign (namely, 2).
This sketch shows ancient ruins. The top half of the page is left empty with sky. At the righ is an apsed portico and from it, to the left of the page, runs a wall studded with windows. In the foreground is a set of stairs with shrubbery overgrowing.
Goldweight in the shape of a small ball with a short, slightly curved, angular tail or handle attached to it.
This small representational goldweight might represent two distinct natural forms. First, it could be a seed pod-- in line with the representations of plant life that are quite frequent in Akan goldweights of Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire. Secondly, it could be a calabash-- in this case, the natural form would refer to a particular cultural practice in the various Akan-speaking kingdoms, where, in the past, calabashes were used to store the gun and cannon powder used in war.
Goldweight in the shape of a coiled rope, tied together in the middle.
Coiled ropes, like other knot and loop forms, are very common symbols represented in Akan goldweights. To this day, people in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire interpret the many variations of this form as "wisdom knots" (or "nyansapò" in Asante, an Akan language). Wisdom knots are associated with a number of proverbs, including: "Only the wise man can untangle the knot"-- which means that the higher position of rulers or superiors is based on their greater knowledge an experience. Alternatively, some local people have interpreted weights in the shape of bundles of cord, like this one, as wound-up lengths of plant fibers or leather strips. In the latter case, there is no particular proverb attached to this weight.
A panoramic view of the highway cutting across the Tarako Gorges, laid out in four connecting hanging scrolls.
Inscription: “sublime and bright--what opens in this enormous curtain (the connected hanging scrolls).”
The “axe-cut” texture stroke methods of the Southern Song artists Li Tang and Ma-Xia school are used to capture the precipitous nature of the mountains. In painting this actual scene, Chang emphasizes the synthesis of both objective visual appearance and subjective qualities raised by the subject in his mind. The artist rearranges in the painting what was seen with his eyes in order to convey the most impressive qualities of the place and the feelings it evoked in him – as it is noted in the artist’s own inscription: “sublime and bright--what opens in this enormous curtain (the connected hanging scrolls).”