Royal Commonwealth Society 150 : Asante small balance scale, scoop, gold-weights and boxes for storing gold dust

Royal Commonwealth Society 150

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Natural deposits of gold in the region between the Senegal and Niger rivers of Africa conferred wealth and influence upon its peoples, stimulating commerce with the interior, North Africa and Europeans, who called it the Gold Coast. From the early eighteenth century, the Asante emerged as a dominant people, building a powerful state that controlled many trade routes from the interior to the coast.</p> <p style='text-align: justify;'> <iframe width="600" height="480" src="https://sketchfab.com/models/f02acb7c6f9d499baaacf0af76ba21ff/embed" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="true" mozallowfullscreen="true" webkitallowfullscreen="true" onmousewheel=""></iframe> <br /> <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='https://sketchfab.com/models/f02acb7c6f9d499baaacf0af76ba21ff?utm_medium=embed&utm_source=website&utm_campain=share-popup'>Asante gold weights</a> by <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='https://sketchfab.com/CamDigLib?utm_medium=embed&utm_source=website&utm_campain=share-popup'>Cambridge Digital Library</a> on <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='https://sketchfab.com?utm_medium=embed&utm_source=website&utm_campain=share-popup'>Sketchfab</a> </p> <p style='text-align: justify;'>Gold dust functioned as a universal medium of exchange in West Africa, measured on scales according to a standardised system of weights. The brass weights and boxes for storing gold dust were decorated with geometric and figurative designs. Figurative designs featured a wide range of animate and inanimate objects such as the drummer, crocodile, bird, catfish, antelope, cutlass, cartridge belt, drum and horns featured in the RCS set. The significance of the gold weights as an art form transcends their economic function, sometimes alluding to proverbs and folktales, and reflecting wider Asante spiritual beliefs and cultural practices.</p> <p style='text-align: justify;'>This set was purchased from a Hausa trader by D. M. Lawson while he worked as a telegraph engineer in the Gold Coast between 1926 and 1932, and later donated to the Royal Commonwealth Society.</p>


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