Goldweight in the shape of a knife, with a short handle set between two protrusions, giving way to a longer blade.
Among the Akan-speaking peoples of Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire, gold dust was used as a form of currency until the end of the 19th century, and merchants used diverse kinds of weights to weigh out measures of gold dust. Among these gold weights, the representation of all kinds of weaponry is very common, especially knives, such as in this example. Knives were originally used as weapons and as instruments of the executioner, and were also frequently worn on cartridge belts. However, by the time knives and other weaponry became frequent forms for gold weights, they were no longer in active use for fighting or war activities.
Goldweight in the shape of a knife with a curved, rounded tip.
A broad variety of weaponry is represented as goldweights, including shields, swords, guns, cannons, daggers, and especially knives-- such as in this example. At the time when the Akan-speaking brass casters (from what are now Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire) represented these weapons as weights, many of them were no longer actually used for hunting or fighting, but survived only as ceremonial regalia. Weights representing military and royal items are part of a larger trend towards representational weights in the 18th and 19th century; previously, brass casters had primarily produced geometric weights, and geometric weights continued to outnumber representational forms throughout the history of their production.