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 man with a large head, tilted slightly backwards, on a thick, heavy neck, and topped by hair or headgear in the shape of a ball; the face has protruding eyes and nose, and the mouth holds a snake-like animal above a small beard (goatee). The figure is wearing a loincloth and holds a short stick under the left arm as well as two small jars in the hands.
Goldweights are small objects cast from brass used to weigh out quantities of gold and gold dust. They are cast using a lost-wax casting technique, wherein wax is sculpted into the desired shape and a mold is pressed around the wax model. Then, the mold is heated and the wax drained out, leaving a void in the shape of the original wax model. Liquid brass is poured into the mold and allowed to set before the caster cracks the mold open and retrieves the finished goldweight.
From about 1400 to 1900, the Asante and related Akan-speaking peoples of Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire used small, portable weights for measuring out units of gold dust. At first, the gold weights were primarily geometric, following North African, European and Middle Eastern examples. From the 18th century onwards, figurative weights became popular, although geometric weights continued to be made too. This weight is a figurative weight, but it is not clear whether there was a particular meaning (often in the form of a proverb) attached to this piece.