Akan 'Balafon Player' Goldweight
Size: 3" (7.62 cm) Tall x 3.5" (8.9 cm) Wide
Gold weights have been called "masterpieces in miniature" reflecting artistry in service to commerce. These weights are not acutal gold but were used in the trade of gold as counterweights when weighing gold dust.
Until the end of the nineteenth century, gold (sika) was the currency of the Asante, Fante, Baule and other Akan peoples of Ghana. Gold dust was used in trade with the Europeans along the Ivory Coast or with Islamic traders from the northern regions. Gold dust was measures on small scales, known as nsaniaa, using small copper, bronze or brass sculpted weights that were called abrommoa. These weights, ranging in design from basic geometric patterns, to complex figurative castings were made using the lost wax process, thus no two are the same.